Chapter 809: Death of the Doppelganger

    Chapter 809: Death of the Doppelganger

    In the moment the creature's defenses shattered, its full and terrible potential was unleashed. A wave of dark purple light spread out from it like ink from an octopus. Wherever the slithering light touched an infection bloomed that constrained the power of the Five Lightnings. As the contamination spread the Monarch's avatar disappeared within it.

    The thick, plum-colored taint spread quickly, swallowing everything it came across. Lightning continued to blast at it from all corners of Lan Jue's Domain, but couldn't seem to burn it away.

    Lan Jue scowled. This inky energy was strangely unique, composed of condensed vital energy and possessed of a ruinous hunger. It surged with an ebb and flow, constantly creating and destroying as it spread out through his Domain.

    That should have been power only the alien planets could control. Understanding was beginning to dawn on the Jewelry Master. He thought life and death were as incompatible as fire and water, but in fact they were the extremes of one another. Destruction was the end result of life, and life was born from ashes of destruction. The two were inexorably combined.

    The alien evolutionary process required unceasing destruction of humanity. Through consumption of their vital energies they expanded their own, a common fact of nature and one they had been involved in for many years.

    Thus did they continue to rise in strength to their current level. Their whole reality was incessant consumption, and through it they understood vitality and creation, death and decay. It was their reality, their protogenia. This was the only way they knew how to fight against the tyranny of universal suppression.

    As life and death coiled among each other, the aliens' protogenia continued to change. It was a constant cycle of consumption, assimilation and creation. The planets created more of their species but had to deprive others of life to do so.

    Creation and destruction. It was also the crux of the universe. The death of one universe invariable gave rise to another.

    Lan Jue had to acknowledge that, although the aliens were a threat to his species, their understanding of the natural way was profound. It had to be, otherwise they never would have reached the heights they enjoy today or have the power necessary to create a realm of their own. If they continued on their path, who's to say they wouldn't eventually threaten the universe as a whole?

    Lan Jue and Zhou Qianlin exchanged a wordless glance. Their hearts as one and their aim identical, a pair of lights sprang up around them.

    Behind Lan Jue appeared his dharmic image, the Middle Heaven Emperor of the North Pole Star of Purple Subtlety. The Queen of Heaven, Guanyin, towered over Qianlin. As their dharma manifested, both of their auras surged.

    The light of the Queen of Heaven was marvelous, almost crystalline. Qianlin was a vision of benevolence and protection. Lan Jue's presence, meanwhile, adopted an imperatorial air with a promise of bloody judgement.

    Direct confrontation of protogenia was the best way to resolve this conflict with the enemy.

    The Emperor of the North Star was commander of the cosmos, back when the immortal realm existed. He held authority over life and death, simultaneously creator and destroyer, whose knowledge of the correlation between the two was complete. Lan Jue's knowledge, by comparison, was superficial at best. Yet still he had access to a depth of understanding far beyond what the aliens had accrued.

    The Queen of Heaven was a power of pure deliverance, perfectly selfless and rooted in virtue.

    As the two powers mingled the connection between life and death faded into the background. What was important in this moment was their relationship to each other. Their affections had survived numerous trials and transcended all, leaving only their love. Qianlin had been willing to sacrifice herself to destruction in order to save Lan Jue, who in turn would give up his life for her.

    In this integral moment the only thing in their hearts was each other. Against the backdrop of creation and annihilation their love bloomed.

    Suddenly the light of their swords flared. Both Paragons merged into the images of their dharma. The Emperor of the North Star took Guanyin's hand in his own, and the two stood side by side. The kingly image of the former god was different now than it had been upon Lan Jue's breakthrough. At that time he had channeled the primordial spirit of the Emperor, rife with disdain. Brimming with power and contempt, it scared the Monarch's avatar enough to force its retreat.

    This time the image looked more like Lan Jue. His influence was not settled, and the light of the cosmos did not live in his eyes as it did for the Emperor of the North Star. Instead the image of the beautiful woman beside him was reflected in their depths.

    Dual beams of red and blue burst forth. Hand in hand, Lan Jue stood with Captus gripped in his right fist. Demortus was nestled in Qianlin's right. As the two of them lifted their godblades, their light combined. They were separate only in appearance, for their spirits were one as the Harmonious Swords were released in a resplendent rainbow beam of light.

    Lan Jue's Boundless Starlight Domain and Qianlin's Queen of Heaven abilities combined. An unprecedented sensation swelled through both of them, washing away any barriers that remained. Only the great affection they felt for one another was left.

    Lan Jue's face betrayed a contented smile, as did Qianlin's. In fact it seemed as though they'd forgotten the presence of their mighty enemy. The multifaceted flair of the Harmonious Swords erupted from them and fractured into a shower of light.

    The poisonous light of the avatar continued to grow, roiling with the powers of life and death, creation and destruction. However, as the rainbow of colors shone upon it the inky darkness was dispelled like a mist before the morning sun.

    The emulsion of energy from the couple continued to grow and spread across a huge area. Their Domains were channeled through the Banishing Blades to both empower and be empowered.

    As reality continued to unravel around it, the alien general felt like it was trapped in a universe of suffering. Tens of thousands of shimmering bolts descended upon him. As they pierced the darkness things became strangely surreal for the avatar. The power derived from the home worlds he put so much faith in was revealed to be fragile in the face of the Harmonious Swords.

    So fragile, in fact, that it seemed resistance was futile. The beast's body proceeded to swell, proceeded to regain its true monstrous form. But even as the full might of its abilities surged through it, the dagger-like beams of color pierced its flesh only to burst out of the other side. All of a sudden it was a creature of pure, shining light.

    The feeling of of the inevitable overcame it. Monarch's avatar slowly closed its eyes as pieces of the creature began to chip away. Panic set in and it thrashed, trying to find any way to evade the purifying light. No succor was found.

    It didn't make sense. By all that they knew these humans shouldn't have been able to harm it. However the moment their Domain consumed it, the doppelganger was cut off from the others. When these glimmering lights came the connection it had to the home worlds was severed as well.

    An eruption of blinding purple light burst from its chest, impossibly bright and alarming. It was as though something within it was fighting tooth and nail to get free.

    It was revealed to be an orb, shimmering and translucent like a gem. It looked like a miniature version of the Monarch planet.

    Rays of purple light blazed into the blackness of space just as Lan Jue and Qianlin dropped their swords. The purple orb hung suspended in nothingness, but was soon enveloped by an enigmatic power. It was something even the alien planets couldn't grasp, an energy that sealed the evil will of the crystal and cleansed its poisonous nature. A few moments later it was nothing more than a crystal of pure vital energy.

    The kaleidoscope of light continued for a full minute until, little by little, it faded into darkness. When Lan Jue and Qianlin opened their eyes, their dharmic images were gone. It was only them, hand in hand, swords at the ready.

    It was a little awkward that the other Paragons were standing nearby, gaping at them in abject confusion.

    Lan Jue blinked at them, and with a little cough, asked, "What happened?"

    Luo Xianni sounded incredulous. "You don't know?"

    He shook his head. "Last thing I remember is employing the Harmonious Swords against Monarch's avatar. Then she and I slipped into some kind of meditation... it's hard to describe. Everything after that is fuzzy. I suppose we killed it?" He asked, uncertain.

    Luo Xianni nodded. "It looked like you really grasped the power of that technique. The Monarch's doppelganger couldn't flee. When you released that light the other two seemed to have felt it and escaped. They used the images of the three planets we saw to somehow ferry them away."

    Lan Jue looked around and discovered that the other Paragons had slain the remaining alien forces. Most of the progenitor's corruption was already gone.

    The Driver was almost fierce as he came upon Lan Jue. "What was that? When did the two of you get so strong?"

    Lan Jue grinned ruefully. "If I told you I actually have no clue, would you believe me?"

    The Driver just stared at him. But the truth was, Lan Jue and Qianlin really didn't know how they'd managed to kill Monarch's avatar.
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