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Chapter 854: Breaking the Blockade

    Chapter 854: Breaking the Blockade

    Poseidon continued to punish the alien horde in its mecha form. Its enormous mechanical body was a terrible weapon of war, compounded by the golden trident it bore. Wherever it pointed, the enemy was smashed. They had no means to fight back, and could only slow the monstrous bastion down with overwhelming numbers.

    "Why won't you die!" The Violet Prince howled. The Princess blade in his hand shook as he swiped it toward the distant bastion.

    A sonic boom of purple-golden light issued forth. It began as a slash several meters long but quickly swelled as it raced through space. By the time the swipe reached Poseidon it had stretched to several thousand meters across. It was so imposing it seemed capable of cleaving the whole universe in two.

    Poseidon was unconcerned by the rapidly approaching attack. It raised its trident in response and replied with a horizontal blow of its own.

    Rrrrriiipp! A strange and uncomfortable sound arose as the two attacks met. Golden light ran up and down the length of the trident and became areoles of color. They neutralized the Prince's assault.

    The alien general stared in a moment of surprise. Was this not one of their technological weapons? The destruction he and the Princess could wreak was without question, even a bastion should be incapable of defending itself. The two of them together could potential destroy whole planets.

    And yet Poseidon and its trident neutralized their awesome power in a manner the Prince couldn't fathom. It could only mean that the bastion's weapon somehow contained its own special energy, or that it was a mystical artifact of some sort. Only, an artifact that was somehow reproduced to a hundred times its original size.

    The other creatures around the Prince also moved to re-engage the humans. Without Jue Di to stop them they could unleash their savagery. Three of their number had been lost while locked in Jue Di's Domain, but they still had the advantage of numbers.

    A hurricane of energy swept across the battlefield, destroying scores of human ships. Even before the wrecked fleets cooled the horde's right flank began to react. They pushed forward to try and overwhelm the bastions and the remaining fleets were forced back while taking heavy casualties.

    Until now the flow of battle had been firmly under Lan Qing's control, but there was a near insurmountable difference in strength between the two sides. Whereas before the fight had managed some measure of organization, now the war collapsed into outright chaos. Both sides relied on sheer destructive power to keep themselves alive.

    No matter who emerged victorious, both sides would pay dearly for it.

    The Prince made no attempts to safe the left flank, it was all but fallen. Most of the human armada was focused there. His focus was the two bastions, especially Middle Heaven.

    Were it not for that damn ship and its tricks, would he have lost so many soldiers? These humans were living on borrowed time, only capable of fighting back because the home worlds were busy with their evolution.

    The Violet Prince charged into battle, ready to destroy Middle Heaven with extreme prejudice. But just as he was readying to strike his head whipped to the side, casting his eyes toward the three planets. They were full of shock, outrage and disbelief.

    In the distance he saw Monarch heave and shake. An atypical purple haze surrounded his father in uneven patches, followed quickly by a spear of rainbow light tearing through the atmosphere and into space.

    Massive tentacles heaved from the surface of Monarch and gathered round the beam of light to snuff it out. But nothing seemed capable of stopping it as it continued its trek, heading right for the battlefield.

    Through the Prince's psychic connection with Monarch he could feel his father's bilious anger. Then came shock as he reared his head back and bellowed into the darkness of space. All of the alien avatars and himself changed course, moving to intercept the rainbow light.

    Lan Qing and his people - who had been ready to face their final moments - noticed something had changed. The admiral saw the change in Monarch's surface and the streak of kaleidoscopic light. Two pieces of information that spoke volumes.

    He immediately began shouting orders. On the left end of the battlefield the myriad Paragons broke off and headed for where the Prince and the light were destined to clash. Poseidon spun its massive girth and thrust its golden trident at a passing high-level alien avatar.

    They had come to a point where the battle rested on a knife's edge. Every moment counted. Although no one knew the implications of that light they knew it was key to victory.

    An orb of dazzling light shot out from Middle Heaven and suddenly another figure appeared in space to join the battle. They burned a path toward the cluster of elite aliens like a shooting star.

    The East's super soldier, Peerless Light Emperor of Middle Heaven, the God of Wisdom. At last Admiral Lan Qing took to the field in this conclusive moment.

    A similar flash of blue emerged from Poseidon headed in the same direction, following the line marked out by its massive trident. Hua Li, the true Poseidon, came to their aid.

    From Tyrannosaurus there came an angry streak of red fire so fast it was hard to follow. But discerning eyes might catch a glimpse of a deathly grey sword encased in fire. Any beast caught in its path was impaled and burned to ash before they knew what was happening.

    Chu Cheng, the terrifying Hades, was coming to lend his strength!

    Until now the three men had been barred from joining in. They had been required to remain behind and command troops. But now their brother had returned to them, bearing the very thing that could win them victory over the alien menace. Nothing would stop them from coming to his aid.

    Humanity's armies and starships were no longer the priority. The fight had come down to an all-out brawl between the strongest each side could throw at one another. They had to fight passed the formidable evils barring Lan Jue's return.

    ξ

    Once he fought his way out of Monarch's sphere of control Lan Jue felt his whole body become lighter. Although the tentacles that barred his path had been mighty, they still fell before the light of the Harmonious Swords.

    He knew the home worlds' evolution had to be nearing completely, otherwise their escape would not have gone so smoothly. Nearly all of the planets' energies were within Europa, leaving little to block Lan Jue's path.

    In fact the aliens had made all the right choices, took all the right precautions. At any other time Monarch's avatar would have been more than sufficient to end Lan Jue and the other interlopers. Their single failing was in understanding the human spirit, and its connection to the legendary Banishing Blades. Monarch never realized the treasure he'd captured.

    Lan Jue knew it when he faced the avatar. Monarch revealed his error when he said the sword had led them there - not that they had come to recover it. The Pharmacist's husband had saved them, even in death, by concealing the truth of Ultus and what it was capable of.

    For all of Monarch's attentive plans and perfect defense, this was the one aspect he carelessly ignored.

    The Pharmacist's husband had become the spirit of Ultus. He had bided his time, appearing to capitulate with the monsters until - at just the right moment - he dropped the façade. Ultus' true power was released, shattering the avatar's decisive blow and adhering itself to Occisus. Finally, it was able to break free.

    The Pharmacist and her husband did not speak through the exchange, but they didn't need to. They had been together for years before Monarch took him from her, their understanding ran deep.

    Her plan had been simple. First and foremost was to disarm the avatar if at all possible and return with Ultus. If she could not, she had been willing to give her life so that Lan Jue and Qianlin could have a chance. She had long ago prepared herself for the possibility of dying for her cause - ever since she left for the Shattered Starfields. What did her life mean in the face of humanity's destruction, if her sacrifice could recover Ultus and save their species?

    In the end her decision had been the right one. It had been the moment her husband had been waiting for. Avatar's strength was suddenly and substantially reduced, and opened itself up to destruction.

    The sound the swords had produced was a part of their secret power, an attack on the spirit of an enemy. This immortal-level assault had been discovered by the Pharmacist's husband after becoming one with Ultus, and the knowledge was passed on to Lan Jue and Qianlin. They used it at just the right moment to constrain the avatar and destroy it with their Harmonious Swords.
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