Chapter 887: Insistence Leads to Ruin

    Chapter 887: Insistence Leads to Ruin

    Kang Hui was also struck by another thought, that of their hubris in thinking they understood their enemy. Namely, that the vital crystals were as important to the aliens as they were to humans. As the fighting grew more intense, humans took pains to capture vital crystals, thinking it was the crux of their effort to weaken the home worlds.

    But in reality, was that so?

    If the planets were willing to give up their elite representatives than these crystals couldn't be as important as they expected. Their evolution was clearly more of a concern, at least to where losing scores of high-grade crystals meant little.

    If he took what the Skyfire Avenue luminaries said to be true then it made even more sense. Evolution created a new alien reality that would protect them from the dangers of universal protogenia. Once that threat was dealt with the aliens could continue to strengthen without fear of having their life force drained. With this being the case, what use would they have for the vital energy of lesser creatures?

    Kang Hui's mind followed the string of considerations. Most of these crystals were created with energy stolen from humans and human worlds. Of course the beasts would be unperturbed by having them taken, since it was never theirs to begin with.

    Kang Hui fell into his chair. These realizations came too late for them to make any changes to their tactics. All he could do was sit back and watch as their enemy achieved victory. Firing on the planet would only make it stronger.

    The anger and disappointment churned his insides.

    "I don't blame you!" Luo Xianni's voice had softened. "No one knew this was going to happen. I only saw it after the shot, when Europa began to change. A-Qing likely wouldn't have done any better, so don't be hard on yourself."

    Kang Hui turned his red, tired eyes onto the Photographer. "Your Majesty, what should we do? Watch them evolve and wait for death?" The death he spoke of wasn't just him or this army, he spoke for all of mankind! He didn't believe for a second that the aliens would forget the humans and move on. Kang Hui and his people were doomed the moment this process was complete.

    Luo Xianni answered in a low, solemn voice. "I can try. Perhaps vital energy will succeed were cosmic energy has failed."

    Cosmic energy was a concept discovered once humanity left for the stars. This was a catch-all phrase for energy created through transmutation or mechanics - for instance, the blast from a war ship's cannon. In contrast vital energy was the energy created by living things, like the powers of Adepts and Paragons.

    It had been proven over the long struggle against the aliens that they were more susceptible to vital energy. Cosmic energy, it was now revealed, actually helped them. In that case their only other option was to try and use the might of one's life force to defeat the beasts.

    Lan Qing and the others were still insulated while they improved their cultivation. Luo Xianni was the strongest Paragon left. She knew that while she was not strong enough to defeat the aliens on her own, perhaps she could improve the chances for her sons.

    A flickering portal of pink light appeared, and Luo Xianni stepped through. When she emerged she was far above Europa.

    The three alien home worlds had entirely disappeared, dissolving into one. Only Europa remained, wreathed in the golden-purple mist.

    Kang Hui didn't have the same sensitivity of perception as the Photographer. She could sense that the former human planet had undergone a large and dramatic change. It was saturated with energy, but to what degree she could not know. The truth was somehow shielded from her.

    What she could tell was that the pressure of universal protogenia eased the closer she came to the planet.

    This meant that the aliens' goal was a success. The greatest benefit of an immortal realm was protecting the denizens from the universe, and that's precisely what she felt now. The thieves of vitality were protected against the strongest force that could be turned on them, making them an almost insurmountable force. This was so whether the three worlds had merged into one or were somehow still separate.

    As she pondered these things Luo Xianni lifted her right hand. Pink light began to shimmer within. She paid no heed to the stresses of universal protogenia, to the danger of its attentions. The light of her powers stretched until it began a thousand-meter long sword gripped in her palm.

    She thrust it downward in an attempt to impale Europa.

    As she expected the golden fog gathered when it came in contact with her powers. The effect was markedly improved over the cannon fire conveyed by the armada. The mists gave her a strange, sticky sensation like it was some kind of protective membrane.  Strong as the Photographer was, she was somewhat surprised to find she could not break its defenses.

    "Your efforts are futile, do not waste your energy. At your strength you must feel the persecution of universal protogenia, the same torture we had to endure. You should stand with us. The creation and maintenance of an immortal realm will need strong patrons, and you have the qualifications to join us. Make the right choice, and soon you shall arise to godhood."

    The calm voice seemed to come from everywhere at once.

    Luo Xianni ignored the voice and continued to pummel Europa. Though the golden haze shuddered under the weight of her onslaught it did not part. She knew it was a longshot, but to see her efforts fail caused Luo Xianni's heart to sink.

    Europa and the three evil beings that possessed it were calm. Their evolution was nearly complete. Luo Xianni and Kang Hui's conjectures were right, through it all the human played right into the aliens' hands. Even Lan Qing's genius didn't see the invisible machinations that controlled them. Every seeming success was allowed by the beasts, another step toward sealing their own doom.

    "Your insistence only seals your fate. You are the architect of your own ruin." Monarch's voice grew cold and harsh. "In many ways I will have shed the concept of race when my evolution is complete. I have chosen the shape of your species because your people are the only ones with experience contending against the tyranny of the universe. You nearly succeeded. Why do you struggle, when it is our aim to create the legacy your fallen gods left behind? Be at peace, I shall not proceed to destroy your species - it holds no further use for me. Rising to immortality means that consuming the vitality of others is no longer necessary. Our only goal is strength. With the protection of our immortal realm and the aid of cosmic energy, it is enough. Your species can still offer enough resources to aid in our improvement. With time we will be more powerful than any species before us - strong enough to consume the fractured pieces of the immortal realm left behind by your predecessors. Eventually we will replace this universe with one of our own creation, and we will be the true masters!"

    The fervent tone in Monarch's voice was clear. This was its real plan, its deepest desire.

    All the while anguish flooded Luo Xianni's heart. Her attacks were impudent at best, and she looked on as the purple haze was slowly being absorbed. Hardly a trace of it remained but she could not harm the planet anyway. She listened to his haughty revelations, to his assurance that he could steal the shape of her species and adopt the potency that was their birthright. Once the purple was gone entirely, the process would be complete.

    My sons, can your swords truly triumph over this monster?

    Luo Xianni never once lost track of Lan Qing and Lan Jue's auras, even now. She sensed problems when they first tried to employ the Banishing Strategy, the greatest of which was their deficient cultivation. The Banishing Blades were too powerful to wield and utilizing the Banishing Stance required a nearly unfathomable amount of strength. What's more the threat of universal protogenia was always present. If they reached the Infinite there was real risk that summoning the Strategy would mean their undoing. Even the mightiest immortals feared the cosmos.

    Her attacks subsided. Luo Xianni knew that nothing she did would work.

    "Do you see? Take heart in your epiphany." Monarch's voice was almost warm, feminine.

    "So now there's only one of you?" Luo Xianni coolly asked.
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