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Chapter 863: Vital Crystal Transmutation

    Chapter 863: Vital Crystal Transmutation

    'As fast as possible' didn't mean a year or two. They had to find a way to make these Paragons stronger within a matter of days. The Banishing Strategy, as one of the strongest powers in the ancient world of immortals, also needed time to understand and employ. All the while the threat of alien evolution loomed, for the moment their process was complete the humans knew those monsters would be coming for them.

    Their days were quite urgently numbered.

    When he saw Lan Qing's concerned visage, Li Ke laughed. "Be at ease, I have a solution that can help you improve your cultivation. I'm not sure how effective it will ultimately be, but the chances are good it will help you ascend to Nirvana."

    "The years I was trapped with these monsters I studied them as they studied me. I watched how their energies were converted and used. After all, Ultus was kept within Monarch's heart. I learned how they converted vital energy into power they used for themselves. If you have enough Paragon-level vital crystals we can attempt it ourselves."

    Suddenly everyone's eyes were alight with the possibility Li Ke suggested.

    It was true that vital crystals of that level were exceedingly rare, but they had come to possess a few. As this war waged many human lives were lost, but the same could be said for the alien horde as well - including their elite. At this point there were ten or so vital crystals Li Ke might find acceptable.

    With serious countenance, Li Ke continued. "What worked for those creatures may not necessarily be suitable for us, and it isn't without hurdles. First, this energy is far from pure - even at the highest levels it has been tainted by poisonous energies exclusive to these monsters. It is incompatible with our human bodies and thus may cause problems as it is absorbed. I cannot tell what those problems may be, but you must be ready with a solution."

    Lan Qing replied. "This shouldn't be a problem. We have Tears of Neptune that can be used to filter the vital energy before we use it. We didn't bring many, but it should be enough for what we need."

    "We have enough." Hua Li, seated nearby, rose to his feet with a smile on his face. "Poseidon Group purchased them in bulk. The East is likely the only alliance who has more than we do. And we brought them all with us. I suspect that will be enough to do what you need to do."

    Lan Qing looked at his fellow Monarch and shot him a thumbs-up. More than an S-ranked power gem, the Tears of Neptune were now an integral resource for filtering vital energy. Hua Li graciously offered them without precondition, something your typical rich man would not do.

    Poseidon Group had spent a lot in defense of humanity, and have had to pay a high cost in lives and resources. They'd earned many vital crystals through the war but it did not offset the price they paid. Lan Qing said nothing, but Hua Li's generosity was offered before everyone's eyes. So long as they were successful the East would repay his kindness in spades.

    The Terminator had to hold back a sigh of admiration. Although this generation's Poseidon was young and inexperienced, he didn't shy from his duties.

    Hua Li left to retrieve the Tears of Neptune from Poseidon.

    Li Ke went on. "If this solves our problem, then wonderful. The transmutation has a high chance of success. However, I do have one condition."

    Li Ke's spectral face grew serious.

    "What is it," Lan Qing inquired.

    "This process must remain a secret," he said. "Only you and little Yue can know how it works. You must keep this information hidden, and take it with you to your graves."

    Of course, the secrecy of it instantly piqued the other Paragons' interest. The Terminator scowled. "Why? Isn't this a good thing?"

    Li Ke sighed. "A good thing. Be you man or monster, greed is a vice that impinges on the virtue of every soul. What you think is a good thing may not be, in many regards. This method is exactly the kind these aliens use to strengthen themselves. This means that if the knowledge becomes widespread we humans could be just as the aliens are. I ask you honestly, honored Paragons... if you knew this method, would you refrain from using it?"

    "Yes, from the start we were capable of taking these crystals and using them to improve ourselves. But our supply of these crystals are limited. What happens once those crystals are used up? Where will the powerful turn their sights next? I am fairly certain, in the end, we would end up just like the monsters we seek to destroy. We would seek out the lives of lesser creatures to consume for our own benefit, and eventually even our own kind. I do not know if any more creatures like these aliens will appear, but our destructive thirst will encapsulate the whole universe."

    "We have suffered, but I do not wish to see our suffering turn us into monsters. Moreover, the universe is a place governed by rules. If the powers of the universe see what we're doing we will be marked a threat. From that point on the enemy we face will be reality as a whole. Even the Banishing Blades wouldn't be able to save us then. For these reasons it is my sincerest hope that the secrets of this method do not get out. It will stop with these two, and only employed because we face the direst of circumstances. Lan Qing, little Yue... this knowledge must never be shared."

    After listening to the spirit's prognostications, the Paragons were silent.

    Yes. None of them denied that they would use all the vital crystals in their power to create mighty human Adepts the likes of which had never been seen. Even that was not terrible in and of itself. But what about when the crystals were spent?

    These wizened Paragons had seen the greed of humanity first hand. In more ways than they'd like to admit humans and aliens had their similarities. Life was about growth - expansion. Both species were always striving for better and greater things. Both wanted to be stronger, and their efforts could influence all life throughout the universe.

    With this dark knowledge humanity would be unable to resist. A portion would succumb to the poison allure of power and would not be able to control the hunger.

    The Pontiff rose to his feet, his deep voice reverberating through the bridge. "What if it is kept to a small coterie? Methods can be used to protect this secret."

    Li Ke smiled. "Your Majesty the Pontiff, do you truly believe that would be successful? It isn't that I am lacking in trust, but it is undeniably true that the only way to keep a secret is if the knowledge passes into history."

    Lan Qing spoke. "I agree with his assessment. Speaking for myself, I'm not even sure I can reliably keep this secret. Everyone has their moment of weakness. Sometimes disaster only needs the smallest opportunity. These vital crystals present our species with awesome opportunities, but that shouldn't require the wanton consumption of life. Instead it should be used for our exuvium process, to extend our lives. I feel this is a suitable use of the treasures we've fought for. Constant evolution is simply hastening the path toward destruction."

    "That's why, once the transmutation is complete, I will allow an Adept of suitable strength to enter into my mind and destroy any trace of that knowledge. I would like all of to bear witness. Li Ke is right - the only way to keep a secret is to erase it completely."

    Most of the Paragons nodded their head, only a few of them disapproved. However they were powerless against the majority.

    Li Ke looked upon Lan Qing with an expression of satisfaction. "Then my mind is at ease. What we do, we do to save mankind - not lay the groundwork for its future destruction. As we perform the transmutation the others must not watch. Two protectors is all that is needed - I suggest Lan Jue and Zhou Qianlin."

    Lan Jue nodded. "That's no problem."

    Lan Qing swept his eyes over the rest of the Paragons. "Your Majesties have fought valiantly. You've earned your rest and then some. The plan now is to return to Angel. There we will strive to complete the Banishing Strategy as quickly as possible and ultimately destroy our enemy."

    The Pontiff was particularly displeased with the turn of events. When he heard Li Ke reveal the possibility of absorbing energy like the aliens, the deepest recesses of his heart was stirred. That knowledge could lead the Pontiff's Citadel into a new renaissance of prosperity. However, he was alone in this hope - the other Paragons were in agreement with Li Ke.

    One by one the Paragons left. They remained on Middle Heaven but retired to their personal chambers to rest. They would need their strength, for the enemy could attack at any moment. Lan Qing and the others - bearers of the Banishing Blades - needed to be protected. They were humanity's last hope.

    Li Ke told them what needed to be prepared. Lan Qing gave the order to see it done. The sooner they finished this business the better, time was of the essence.

    Once the others were gone, Li Ke asked Lan Jue, Lan Qing, Zhou Qianlin and the Pharmacist to follow him into the nearby sitting room.
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