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Chapter 788: Master of Stars, Supreme Emperor

    Chapter 788: Master of Stars, Supreme Emperor

    It brandished the weapon almost casually, then a red light arose that filled the spectators' eyes. It stretched to the horizon where an eruption of red light lit up the skies. It collapsed upon screams so loud and desperate the seemed to spread across the whole planet.

    Ever since the golden cloud had appeared no aliens dared come near. The only creature that could not flee was the one Lan Jue's dharma target; the progenitor.

    The artery that connected the earth to the sky disintegrated beneath the power of Captus. Waves of vibrant vital energy rushed out from it in waves, then were directed back into the ground with a wave from Lan Jue's mirror image.

    Only a crater remained where the Nirvana-level progenitor had lain. The jagged indentation looked like it had been carved away and swallowed up by a black hole.

    Lan Jue's dharmic representation peered onto the surface of Captus, peering into the golden runes etched on its blade. A frightening and enigmatic power surged from the weapon. With a smile, both man and weapon shrunk. Eventually the image vanished into Lan Jue, and Captus returned to hovering above his head.

    The runes had concealed themselves again and left behind seven twinkling lights. They were clearer even than what Occisus had produced.

    Was it done?

    The surrounding Paragons swallowed and fought for words after the spectacular scene. Was this mighty beast felled with a single stroke of the sword? Only the Harbinger Faerie, bearer of Occisus, had an inkling. She sensed that Captus' power had awakened in the hands of Lan Jue's dharma. Thankfully the strength of it was enough to reign Captus in, otherwise its power was enough to split the planet in two!

    Luo Xianni understood it from another perspective. She recognized Lan Jue's dharma as an inherited legacy and these kinds of innate dharmas awakened ancient wisdom. These hints of forgotten knowledge solidified one's comprehension. That sudden period of enlightenment allowed the Paragon to perform great feats, like destroying the progenitor.

    Put simply, a display like that would not be happening again any time soon, not unless Lan Jue could attain the power of the long lost immortals. Or, alternatively, if he were to somehow tap into the ancient knowledge again.

    Lan Jue remained in meditation as though all the chaos around him passed outside of his comprehension. After a while, his eyes opened. He could sense everything that occurred, felt the changes. He awoke an entirely changed entity.

    The energy within him was unchanged - not increased, and in fact reduced. However, now he was a part of the universe around him, as inexorably tied as the stars. Protogenia was molded by his every thought and gesture. The power of reality was at his fingertips.

    Control. Control over everything.

    At last he had arisen to the status of Paragon. Like his brother before him, he did so in large strides to emerge as a Reflection of Heaven and Earth. No... he had gone further.

    When he joined with Qianlin he felt the energy of the stars, the planets, and all living things as a part of them. He could feel them as clearly as he sensed himself. With a thought he knew all that was happening in the nearby battle out in space.

    His consciousness stretched out into the vast expanse of deep space. But something made his expression change, a suffocating sensation of pressure coming in from all directions. It hit him so hard he lost his breath and threatened to break his mind.

    With a heady sigh Lan Jue retracted his perception. Immediately he felt better.

    Universal protogenia? He was stunned to discover he could sense it so soon after breaking through.

    He turned and draw his eyes to the spot where the progenitor had been, now a hole one thousand meters deep. The red light of Captus had consumed it and any residual sense of the creature's presence. As far as he could see the fungal growth it had produced was quickly withering away.

    Even more stunning was how quickly things were returning to normal. As the poisoned earth was cleansed, new life sprang up. Wild explosions of vegetation arose from the desolation. This must be a result of his dharma, he thought, redirecting the progenitor's vital energy back into the ground. Although some of the devoured energy was gone forever, what remained was enough to restore a large amount of land to its former splendor.

    Success. The first part of their plan had been accomplished. The enemy was stronger than they had predicted, but it'd all worked out. Things would be easier now.

    Lan Jue descended from the sky. The other Paragons were below to greet the newly awakened Paragon.

    The Driver sighed emotionally. "Missed it by just a little bit - a little more and I would be a Reflection of Heaven and Earth. So unfortunate." Indeed, in the end he was not able to employ Lan Jue's emulsion of power to push him into the next level. However he was guided to the border of the realm of Protogenia. He need only solidify his dharma, then he would be able to take the next step.

    He was not the only one who learned from the experience. The Gourmet, whose progress since his breakthrough had been slow, could sense a qualitative improvement. The Pauper could feel growth as well. His dharma was inherited just like Lan Jue's, and his comprehension of it was deepened. He was also just a step beyond becoming a Reflection.

    Just as a normal Paragon's ascension was beneficial to Adepts, Lan Jue and Qianlin's breakthrough was a great boon to the Paragons nearby. It was an unforeseeable but welcome circumstance.

    Lan Jue smiled. "Don't be greedy, how many people do you know who have improved as quickly as you?"

    The Driver chuckled. "Hanging around you was one of the best decisions I've made." Ever since training yin-yang lightning with Lan Jue, his Discipline had skyrocketed. It was so fast even he could hardly believe it.

    With time his strength had grown to glorious heights, he'd become a Paragon, and now he saw the next step looming on the horizon. None of this had been within the realm of his imagination just a few years ago! All of this was made possible by Lan Jue, and though he didn't often say it he was deeply grateful for the friendship they shared.

    Luo Xianni smiled happily at her adopted son. "All of us were aided by your breakthrough. But why would this process summon tribulation lightning? It is supposed to come when one crosses the threshold to immortality!"

    Lan Jue shook his head. "My breakthrough has nothing to do with tribulation lightning. That wasn't what you saw. That was a thundercloud, and the lightning was there to help me through the process not impede it."

    Luo Xianni's curiosity got the better of her. "What is your dharma?"

    He grinned at her in response. "Its name is even longer than my brother's. I'd rather not say."

    Her eyes sparkled. "What are you doing? Keeping secrets from your mother?"

    This earned a sigh from Lan Jue. He muttered his answer. "Middle Heaven Great Emperor of the North Pole Star of Purple Subtlety." 1

    For a long moment the others just stared at him.

    The Gourmet was at a total loss. He'd grown up in the North, and though he came from Eastern blood he was never taught the history and mythos of ancient China. The Driver was similarly flabbergasted, though he had some inkling as to what it meant.

    The Pharmacist and the Pauper stared at him with wide, unbelieving eyes. Both of them had inherited dharmas and were possessed of deep historical knowledge.

    Middle Heaven Great Emperor of the North Pole Star of Purple Subtlety? What in the world was that?

    This ancient deity had many names; Master of Stars, Attendant of the Highest Stratum of Heaven. In ancient times he was lauded as guardian of the golden gate of immortals. It was also said he was a transformation of the great Yuan Shi. The one who made Captus, Celestial Master Lingbao, was one of his contemporaries and a Pure One.

    Respect for the Heavenly Emperor was loftier than the North Star. He was among the greatest deities of the Taoist pantheon, hence his position as the North Star, master of the Purple Subtle Enclosure. His Buddhist name was the Blazing Light, Taoists called him the Mysterious Celestial of Jade. Master of Great Learning and Integrity. Gatherer of All Under Heaven. 2

    Among the Taoist pantheon he was ranked just under the Jade Emperor. Known as Master of Stars, Supreme Emperor.

    When the Pharmacist realized what Lan Jue had inherited, she grinned from ear to ear. No wonder... no wonder Captus was glad to reveal its full splendor in the hands of his dharmic image. It was the Emperor of Purple Subtlety!

    Immortals who existed in the realm of Daluo could call upon the full might of Captus. How much truer was it for a Heavenly Minister? It was as powerful as the underlying truth that composed the universe.

    Middle Heaven Great Emperor of the North Star of Purple Subtlety... and the Palm of Five Lightnings.

    With that thought, the cloud of heavenly lightning began to make sense. The first golden bolt destroyed ignorance, the Way of Execution for the Five Lightnings. The second blue bolt was Lan Jue's specialty, All-Heaven Lightning, created when Pan Gu split heaven and earth. The third purple bolt that was shared with the Driver because it was his own Primordial Lightning.

    The fourth were the three turquoise bolts as one, Triple Purity.

    At last were the six lightnings employed by the Palm technique to punish evildoers. Individually they were; Heavenly thunder, Earthly thunder, Cloud thunder, Water thunder, Demon thunder, and War thunder.

    Thunder magic was a gift of his inheritance, and what allowed Lan Jue to possess and employ his dharma.

    He held back for so long, and allowed the magic to gestate within him. When it was released his explosive growth was nothing short of astonishing. The Emperor of the North Star was no less potent a dharma than Vairocana, and in fact in combat was more advantageous. After all, the Emperor of the North Star was noted for his prowess on the field of battle.

    1. This is the real name of one of the 'Four Heavenly Ministers' who, as far as I'm aware, are in charge of managing all things in heaven and earth. They are just under the Three Pure Ones in terms of hierarchy.

    2. To any true Taoists out there, I apologize. I absolutely butchered the many, many, many titles this guy has. They defy translation, hence why I can't find official names in English for him anywhere aside from the long one.
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