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Chapter 783: Commencing

    Chapter 783: Commencing

    Satan seemed calm as a lake surface, with no change in his expression. However, Mika could see the struggle hidden behind her father's eyes. His deep eyes were pits of blackness.

    The Dark Citadel had been thoroughly wiped out. How could this not be a significant blow to the king of devils?

    As Zeus-1 continued to pick up speed, Mika's heart was heavy. At the end of this fight, no one knew who would be going home. She was just as uncertain whether they'd defeat their enemies.

    Come one! We have to win! Mika grit her teeth. Everything depended on killing the alien menace.

    In the distance they could still see the battle raging between the human and alien forces. Flashes of glaring light flashes over and over again. The armada continued to fight on its back foot, retreating as its guns fired at full bore. They managed to keep the distance that was so integral to their ranged strategy, however the aliens were slowly closing in.

    Some of the vessels had begun to suffer damage. Rare were the aliens that slipped through the hail of cannon fire, but when they did they threw themselves at the ships with abandon. They could hardly see each through the flashing lights and clouds of gore.

    Middle Heaven was a resolute boulder in the center of the stream. It stayed at the rear of the retreating forces, shielding its allies by virtue of its secondary weapons systems alone. So far none of its fighter planes had been deployed.

    The aliens were enraged at Middle Heaven's brawn. Incessantly they threw themselves at the ship, desperate to destroy it. Only once the planet-turned-warship had been destroyed could they clear away the humans. But despite their reckless charge, no matter what the sort of alien, they were all destroyed or thrown aside before the might of Middle Heaven.

    The bastion's energy stores seemed endless, and it alone destroyed nearly as many of the aliens as all twelve fleets that accompanied it. From its position between the humans and aliens, Middle Heaven was perfectly positioned to punish the enemy while protecting its allies.

    However, the aliens' numbers seemed equally limitless. They'd caught up to where they were pressing in on the armada from three sides. As they continued to add pressure, they closed the distance to their prey. They just needed to get close - once the distance was covered the beasts could employ their powerful melee attacks to wreck the human vessels.

    All of a sudden both sides were assailed by a thunderous roar, as a blast of energy was released. The massive beam was white-hot but quickly turned red, like a laser shot but far too large. In a blink one one-hundredth of the alien horde was burned to ash. All that remained were their glittering vital crystals, hovering in space. As the residue of the attack's power hung in the air, the aliens were visibly taken aback, causing the pressure of their charge to ease a little.

    The humans were quick to take advantage of the pause and continued to fire indiscriminately into the enemy forces. The distance between them began to increase again.

    But what just happened? There was only one thing of human creation that could cause such destruction, and that was a bastion. Tyrannosaurus' main cannon sizzled in the cold vacuum of space as it continued to retreat.

    Up to this point neither Tyrannosaurus nor Poseidon had engaged the enemy. If Middle Heaven was the armada's shield, these two were the spears behind it. As the danger to the humans increased, Tyrannosaurus at last bared its fangs.

    As the battle raged, alien forces had been unable to spot the Northern bastion charging its guns. As a result, a gaping hole had been carved through the heart of the horde. Aliens were painfully reminded that it wasn't just Middle Heaven they faced. There were two more like it! Poseidon's guns were still dark, and since the beasts had never encountered Poseidon Group before they did not know what to expect. But it was larger than Tyrannosaurus, and usually that meant more firepower.

    Lan Qing sat behind his control panel, watching intently as streams of data flit across his screens. He rarely gave orders as the battle raged, and when he did they were rich with code words and secret meanings.

    The first phase of their war plan was in full effect. Lan Qing had been careful not to underestimate his enemy, whose numbers were three times what Lan Jue saw in his scouting mission. The Eastern admiral had prepared for the worst eventuality and it served them well.

    Why were Tyrannosaurus and Poseidon not firing their weapons like all the others? To conceal their power. If they had started the fight throwing everything they had at the creatures their enemy would grow cautious and cunning. The likelihood of gaining and losing ground increased.

    Lan Qing didn't want to see that happen, it was unpredictable and they needed to create space for the Paragon strike teams. A base of operations was needed before they could push further in.

    Hiding behind the planets had been an effective tactic, one that had perplexed and frustrated the humans to no end. The circular sneak attack was effective but it would only work once. These were intelligence creatures, and the only way to really punish them was in outright war.

    Attacking and retreating was not just advantageous for creating distance and maintaining a range advantage. It drew their enemy away from any defensible positions or places to hide, revealing their numbers and exposing them to mankind's strongest weapons.

    Tyrannosaurus' attack proved the efficacy of their plan. Ten thousand aliens or more had been felled in a blink, and their momentum was thwarted.

    Lan Qing was unconcerned with the prospect of the aliens fleeing. Surely they felt they had the advantage. Recharging a bastion's main gun took time, giving them the opportunity to press the attack. If they gave the humans a chance the next attack would hurt them even worse.

    As he anticipated, Tyrannosaurus attack threw the alien horde into a frenzy. Scores of beasts rushed ahead heedless of cannon fire. They braved the hail of burning light, desperate to snuff out these puny human lives.

    The alien creature that had depended the planet and thrown aliens at them had also flown in to join them. It moved with incredible speed, catching up with its smaller brethren moments later. Its presence on the battlefield threatened to give the enemy an edge.

    Now, in the presence of the mighty leader, the alien attack was much more menacing.

    The human ships continued to be pushed back, and inch by inch the bloodthirsty aliens closed in. With each passing moment the humans were in an increasingly disadvantageous position. Tyrannosaurus was still recharging for another blast. All that was left was Poseidon, but was it enough to stem the flood?

    ζ

    Angel.

    A rain of blood followed in the Pharmacist's wake. The aliens continued to throw themselves at her, only to be impotently cut down by her storm of steel. Lan Jue's party was quickly nearing the far side of the planet.

    The attempts to dissuade them never let up. The further they pressed ahead the larger and more powerful their foes became. Several monsters over a thousand meters long attempted threw themselves at the humans, seeking to stop their invasion with their huge bodies. Yet it proved a foolish endeavor that only put them in the path of destruction. Faced with the Pharmacist's deadly rush they were cut apart before they knew it, and the humans had another vital crystal.

    With unstoppable vigor Occisus' array conveyed the party toward the planet's far side. Soon they would arrive at the progenitor's location.

    Lan Jue pulled Qianlin along at his side, gripping tightly to her hand. Their powers were in constant communication, and as Lan Jue's powers flooded into her her powers likewise were conveyed back to him. They modified each other, fused, then shifted again in perfect harmony.

    Under such conditions, what could be expected to happen?

    Lan Jue's face bore a slight smile. He'd waited for this - waited so long and fought so hard to suppress his powers, so that he and Qianlin might advance.

    Now they had come to the final, integral step.

    In the distance they could see the aliens' numbers receding. The obstacles that kept them from their target were fewer, and in response Occisus' manifestations flung around them even faster.

    Under the Pharmacist's direction they arrived. Not far off the enormous and cancerous vessels were in full view. Without question, the progenitor they were about to face was bigger than any they'd seen before. It had to be, if it was funneling vital energy directly to its home worlds!

    Suddenly the sky went dark. A familiar sensation tickled at Lan Jue's mind from somewhere before them.
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