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Chapter 855: The Four Swords Gathered

    Chapter 855: The Four Swords Gathered

    Without the avatar to deter them, breaking passed Monarch's blockade and back into space was easier than Lan Jue had anticipated. The opportunity had come largely because the planet was distracted with its evolution.

    But it was more than that. Many factors went in to their success.

    The Pharmacist eyes were red as she held Occisus and Ultus in her hands. One could only imagine the rush of emotions surging through her. Her husband had yet to speak with her but she could feel him - faint, but it was his essence! She had waited for so, so long to be near him again. The possibility of it was all that had kept her going.

    At last the four Banishing Blades were reunited [1. And it feels so gooooood.]. They couldn't employ the banishing stance yet - they had yet to unlock its secrets. However, the fact that the swords were gathered meant that humanity could battle the alien home worlds, even if they succeed in becoming immortal.

    The Prince bore down on Lan Jue with an aura of biting cold. Star Division's commander was not anxious, and in fact was happy to see him come. The monster attacked at Monarch's order, meaning the planets themselves could not.

    Before Lan Jue would have been anxious, worried that he didn't have the strength to protect himself from the Prince and his cohorts. However, after breaking through to Nirvana, and once he and Qianlin uncovered the secrets of the Harmonious Swords, those fears were allayed. Together, with the power of the Infinite at their fingertips, even the Violet Prince could not stop them from rejoining their friends.

    Shock and anger alternated in the Prince's heart. He knew what it meant the moment that human emerged from Monarch's grasp. At the time he did not find it unexpected that the humans might try something, but he also knew how strong Monarch's avatar was. It was his father's final line of defense - strong enough to face the whole human armada by itself if necessary.

    And yet, these three humans must have destroyed it.

    Monarch spoke directly into his son's mind, telling him the ominous sense that filled him now that the sword was gone. There was something special - something unique about the weapon that made it a danger. It had to be recovered at all costs.

    The Princes new mission was to destroy these invaders and return the sword to their control. He could sense from Monarch's urgency that this held precedence, even over destroying the human armada.

    The two sides drew nearer. As the distance closed Lan Jue and Qianlin reached out with their swords and the rainbow light swelled. This time Lan Jue did not empower it with his Domain. It was too draining, so the harmonious swords alone would have to suffice.

    Clang! The light of the harmonious swords and the Prince's sabre met with an ear-piercing ring. The Princess-sword darkened, and the rainbow light was dispersed. Both sides met.

    Lan Jue took the initiative. He reeled back with Captus, and with the power of the harmonious swords carved out a circle with the Taiji style.

    The Violet Prince felt his opponent's energies suddenly change, and suddenly there was too much to keep track of. Without foundation his body was immersed in the strange power, and his felt his own force diminished. The inscrutable pull of the circle Lan Jue carved out pulled him off balance.

    Just then a cold and callous light rushed forth from behind the two humans. A murderous aura deep and indelible as the time crashed over him. His sword was caught in the traction of the harmonious swords, forcing him to punch with his free hand to try and get free.

    Ka-cha!

    The sound of the shutter was sharp in the vacuum of space. The Prince's movements froze and he was stuck with his fist raised.

    Occisus glinting point struck his shoulder

    The Prince screamed, fighting against Luo Xianni's power. He wrenched to the side just as Occisus strike arrived, causing it to glance off his shoulder. However the temporary delay was enough that Lan Jue, Qianlin and the Pharmacist could slip passed him. They shot into the distance as three streaks of light.

    Luo Xianni appeared beside them, her face cold and drawn. Her pink camera was clutched in pale hands. When the Prince saw her appear she yelled in impotent rage.

    Of course what followed was to be expected. There was a flash of pink, and the four of them were gone.

    When they reappeared they were safely among the other Paragons.

    There had been a reason for Jue Di's instance that he fight these aliens alone. He forbade Luo Xianni from spending her energy because he knew she would need to bring Lan Jue and the others back safely. Only her interdimensional powers were strong enough to escape the clutches of the Prince.

    Luo Xianni was forced to watch helplessly while the love of her life arose to immortality in order to delay and kill these monsters through his own powers, sacrificing his life.

    The pain that ate at her was unspeakable. His Compliance Rod was strapped to her back, and though the weight of what it meant threatened to crush her she soldiered on.

    The Paragons gathered around them, including Lan Qing.

    The admiral immediately saw the two swords held in the Pharmacist's hands, and though his features retained their cool detachment there was relief in his eyes. He reached forward and gently laid a hand upon his mother's arm. "Let's go back."

    The hatred that consumed her for the Prince receded when she heard his soft voice. She wanted nothing more than to wring the life out of every last alien abomination, but she couldn't forget the final promise Jue Di made her give.

    ξ

    "Xianni... I'm sorry. I have to do it."

    "Then let me go with you!"

    "If it was just us I wouldn't stop you. We would die facing them together, a fine way to go. But... but our children. If we both die, what will happen to them? A-Jue is on a mission that is more likely to see him killed than returned safely, you know this. You also saw how much this is destroying Lan Qing inside. Only A-Jue can do what needs to be done."

    "They've grown up, and now the fate of humanity rests on their shoulders. If something happens to me you have to remain strong, at least in order to protect our children. Promise me!"

    ξ

    Luo Xianni raised her camera. As the soft pink light fell over the gathered Paragons a single tear rolled down her cheek. Chi Bupang! You bastard. Are you really going to abandon me?

    A flicker of pink, and they were gone.

    The Prince could only watch as they Lan Jue and the others were squirrelled to safety. He didn't race after them because he'd felt the power of their harmonious swords. As the power headed for him he was filled with the uncomfortable suspicion that he could not win. It was unthinkable, but true.

    After a moment of hesitation he called for the horde to withdraw. Monarch wanted him to recover that weapon, but in order to do so it looked like he would need to destroy the whole human army first. Even that would not be an impossible request but for the fact that the horde had been nearly decimated in their last exchange. Few were the aliens' advantages now, and fighting through the strongest of the humans to recover the sword looked to be more than troublesome.

    For the time being it was more important to fall back and protect Monarch during his evolution. At least, as far as he was concerned.

    The aliens fell back like a receding tide, but the human ships did not give chase or harass them. Instead they fell back into formation to assess the damage.

    Though it was not decisive victory, the humans retreated from this battle triumphant. No fewer than a third of the alien horde had been destroyed as well as four of their elite. The Violet Prince, Princess, and the other four Infinite-level aliens remains, but most of their lesser Nirvana brethren were slain. Still they did not give chase.

    "Admiral Lan, why don't we pursue them? We've bled for an opportunity like this!" Kang Hui's stern face was the first thing Lan Qing saw on his screens when the aliens began their retreat.

    But after his outburst he saw the Paragons gathered in the control room. He saw their despondent expressions.

    "Obey my orders," Lan Qing reminded him coolly. "Return to Angel."

    "Retreat? Admiral Lan, are you crazy? If we retreat now -" In his incomprehension his voice continued to rise.

    Lan Qing fixed him with a cold, hard stare. "Admiral Kang. We have achieved the mission we set out to do. We can take this opportunity to pursue but we ultimately do not have the power to overcome their defenses. However we have succeeded in our main objective, and soon we will have a super weapon ready that will allow us to destroy these creatures once and more fall. What's more we need to recover from casualties. Including his Majesty Jue Di. My father. He's dead."

    When he said it all the strength drained out of him. Lan Qing, forever the stoic and emotionless, couldn't keep the red from his eyes.

    Kang Hui's body shook. He hadn't known. Everyone was busy with their sector, and the battle was chaotic enough when only one aspect was on your mind. Now he learned the fate of Jue Di.

    He knew how important that Paragons was to everyone, especially the army. He was as brilliant a tactician as his son and backed it up with incomparable power.

    No wonder they were insisting on a retreat. Where their losses not enough already? Jue Di had fallen, given his life.

    But as for that super weapon, what did he mean?
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