Chapter 835: Queen of Devils

    Chapter 835: Queen of Devils

    Su Xiaosu shook her head. "I'm fine, just a little tired. Would you help me up?"

    The Doctor offered a hand to help pull her up off the ground. "You should go rest. I fear we're going to be facing stronger monsters in the fights to come."

    "Yeah. I also wonder how the commander is doing. He's in a dangerous state." Xiaosu replied. Anxiety was clear in her voice.

    He smiled reassuringly. "It'll be fine. If it were serious we would have lost the war already."

    Xiaosu smiled back. "Yeah! The boss is invincible."


    Invincible. Kang Hui might use a similar phrase to describe Lan Qing. When he led Tyrannosaurus from the North, he was ready to become a martyr for their cause. Yet so far they had turned back the deadly alien tide at every turn - they were even beginning to gain ground.

    Since the beginning of their campaign the allied forces had recovered seven human planets, saved and healed millions of victims, and pushed ahead with a plan for every eventuality. They had simultaneously defended Angel and dealt a crushing blow to the enemy's main force, resulting in a better position than ever for humanity.

    Kang Hui had absolute faith in the Eastern Admiral. This young man was worthy of being lauded as the greatest soldier of their generation. Without him, he feared the war would have been lost already.

    Their final goal was within reach. Despite the odds, Kang Hui felt a strange sense of ease. Now that they were here there was only one thing left to do. Fight - fight with everything they had left!

    His mind went back to the allies they'd lost; the commanders of the Arachnid and Terminator, comrades in the fleets that were destroyed in the Shattered Starfields. He swore on their sacrifice that he would fight to the last man. Retreat was not an option, and the war would not end until those alien planets were destroyed.

    Despite his treasonous actions in taking Tyrannosaurus away from the North in its time of fear, now he had their full support.

    But that was now. If they lost Kang Hui knew he would be demonized back home. If they won the North would claim it was the plan from the beginning. Victory would clear his name, and even if he died they would name him a hero of his people. The thought didn't bring him any cheer. Hero... victory or defeat, every last soldier who fought with him against these aliens were heroes!


    Middle Heaven conference room.

    Lan Qing was given no repose. After the battle he had busily passed down orders for repairs and preparations, then invited the Paragons to meet with him.

    Lan Jue and Qianlin remained in space, stabilizing their new levels of power. Luo Xianni had remained behind as well to look after them. The remaining Paragons had answered his summons.

    Lan Qing stood at the head of the table, but did not sit. Instead he greeted all of them with a deep and sustained bow.

    "Thank you, all of you. Your actions, in spite of considerable risk to your own lives, saved out armada from destruction." He spoke solemnly and straightened.

    The Wine Master replied. "No thanks are required, Admiral Lan. Without your expert command even our strength would have meant nothing."

    Lan Qing finally took his seat. "I've invited you here to discuss the next step in our plan to combat the enemy. Let me begin by saying Star Division's display during the last battle was nothing short of remarkable. Their ability to combat these monsters in close range offset the deficiencies of our fleets. As such I would like to request that the North reinforce their numbers with mecha pilots of their own. In this way we can protect ourselves if the aliens break our lines and get close enough to fight back."

    The Terminator nodded without reservation. "Not a problem. I'll see to it personally once we've finished our meeting. And not just Northerners, I'll make sure we tap any resources available to us. This is likely to be our final stand, every advantage must be employed."

    The Pontiff nodded in agreement. "My Citadel's strength is all but destroyed, but we will lend whatever power remains to fight for you. The Dark Citadel -"

    A voice interrupted from the doorway. "The Dark Citadel will also join you in defending humanity."

    Mika strode across the threshold into the conference room.

    Although the table was surrounded by the greatest leaders and strongest warriors in all of human space, Mika was not cowed. She stood tall, with a confidence and commanding air that rivaled all of theirs. She took up a seat at the foot of the table.

    Her red hair seemed a deeper hue of crimson now, and a dangerous fire burned in her eyes. Her body was surrounded by flows of power. Although she was not yet a Paragon, she was close - the peak of ninth level.

    Although only a few days had passed since the death of her father, Mika was like a different person. There was a coldness in her, even as the devilish power of her blood surged around her like a tide.

    Such a rapid successions of breakthroughs could only mean one thing. She'd accepted her devilish lineage, and released the power she had so long fought to contain.

    Chu Cheng and the Gourmet exchanged a glance. The Gourmet's expression was questioning, perhaps seeking guidance. Although he was older, Chu Cheng had taken the mantle of Hades and thus the role of patriarch for their family.

    Chu Cheng answered his uncle's unspoken question with a shake of his head. Humanity was in crisis, this was not the time for infighting.

    In taking command of what remained of her father's organization, Mika had proven her strength. The Gourmet feared she would prove to be a formidable Queen of Devils in the future.

    Lan Qing regarded Mika with an even stare. After a small moment of surprise he nodded. It was in Lan Qing's nature to be repelled by the forces of evil. His Vairochana lineage was diametrically opposed to what she stood for. However, even though he could sense the darkness that had taken root in her, he saw in her eyes that it had not yet influenced her righteous spirit.

    His nod was a signal that she was welcome, and her command was accepted. She nodded back. Expressionless her eyes swept around the table and took in the faces of the others but did not find the one she was looking for. She couldn't hide the surprise she felt from showing in her face.

    The crisis Lan Jue and Qianlin had encountered was top secret, kept hidden from the rest of the armada. Only the Paragons knew, for they had been there to witness it.

    Lan Qing went on. "Now that we're all on the same page, we will share resources. Our efforts together will be unequivocal and unified."

    They proceeded to discuss how Adepts would be used in the fight to come. Humanity's war had reached a decisive moment - they had one foot in heaven, and one foot in hell. The final step in either direction would be determined by their efforts.

    "Alien resistance is stronger than we anticipated, with more higher-tiered beasts than we thought. It is my hope that your Majesties might coordinate with me while we consider ways to deal with their superior strength. Alone, traditional war is unlikely to win us the victory we need. Together we may prevail."

    At present humanity's total strength was inferior to the alien horde, even before considering the influence of their home worlds. However, despite their weaker position humans had still managed to strike a stinging blow to the alien power structure. Poseidon and Middle Heaven's transformation had been instrumental in making them pay.

    As a result the aliens' superiority in numbers was reduced. Allied forces still didn't have enough soldiers, but the three bastions made up for what they lacked. Bastions were large enough that they could produce what an army lacked, especially resources the bastion's needed to be most effective.

    As he listened, the Terminator nodded in agreement. There were significantly more top-tier aliens than they had thought. Facing them would be difficult. In fact, were it not for Lan Jue and Qianlin's sudden breakthrough their losses would have been catastrophic. Thankfully they were able to tap into the essence of the Emperor of the North Star and summon the Gates of Cataclysm.

    In the coming battle, sacrifice might be necessary even if they fought their hardest. Final victory was more important than keeping everyone alive.

    The meeting continued without conflict. All of the Paragons were more than willing to cooperate with Lan Qing's plans.

    One of mankind's advantages was Adepts' natural ability to restrain the power of alien Discipline. Between the Paragons and the three bastions, they had a chance of defending themselves even against a force superior in strength and numbers. In the end, though, which side would emerge triumphant would not be known until the fight concluded. To have any chance of winning at all, the alien planets could not be allowed to take the field.

    When the meeting was concluded the Paragons left to handle their individual tasks. Lan Qing rose with them and caught up with Mika.

    "Admiral Lan," she said, "where's the boss? Why didn't he attend the war council?" When she didn't see him at the meeting, Mika had tried to reach Lan Jue through her communicator. When he didn't answer she'd begun to worry.

    Satan's death had wounded her deeply. If something happened to her boss, a man she respected and relied upon, it would break her. She could sense the stress from it galvanizing her demonic blood.

    Something flashed in Lan Qing's eyes. He placed a hand gently upon her shoulder.

    Mika felt a power flush through her like a torrent of fire, draining through her shoulder and into her heart. The urge to react, the sense of something terrible just beneath the surface, suddenly eased as her strength of will was reinforced.

    Lan Qing's voice was low but tough. "You've made your choice, now you must learn to control yourself. You can't afford to make careless mistakes. A-Jue is fine, he's meditating. Soon he will have another mission and won't be participating in the main attack. That's why we didn't need him to participate in our meeting."

    With this said, his arm dropped and he left down the corridor.

    Once she knew Lan Jue was fine the pressure in Mika's chest was released. Lan Qing's words were simple, but they were precisely what she needed. From now on, she was the only one she could rely on.
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