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Chapter 888: The Ignorance of Humanity

    Chapter 888: The Ignorance of Humanity

    Monarch's response was tepid. "Some sacrifices are necessary in order for our evolution to succeed. Ah, yes - from the fragments of your species' DNA I acquired some knowledge. During the time of greatest influence your immortal realm had a caste of immortals called the Da Luo. I suspect that if things continue at their current rate I shall achieve this level in no more than a hundred years. From that point forward I can focus on strengthen this immortal realm. You must come, join me. You need only open your heart and allow me to place my mark on your soul. Then you shall be one of us."

    Luo Xianni sniffed a laugh. "Become one of you? You mean be devoured? Do you think I believe even one word of what you've said? It doesn't matter what you turn into, you're still an abomination. You will never been human - you can never teach a dog to stop eating ** [1. Best phrase ever. Use it with your friends and family.]. It doesn't matter what you look like or what world you create, the facts will never change. You've done nothing more than profit off the hard work my species has done for millennia. So here is my response to your offer; I won't be your food. Everything you've said is idiotic nonsense."

    For a moment Monarch was silent. When it spoke once again there was a tone of disappointment in its voice. "It appears you humans have grown wiser. Indeed, in my eyes your kind are nothing more than lesser life forms - so much wasted potential. You have lost any sense of how to utilize it, unlike your ancestors. The success of your forbearers to create an immortal realm was magnificent, but in all the time since you humans have squandered your birthright. You're right, I must continue to feed. Achieving my perfection means I must continue to devour powerful genetic material. I can only get it from your kind. But why do you refuse me? Why is it so unacceptable to be a part of me? Of something greater?"

    "Do you think your defiance means something? If you refuse, do you think I will not simply take what I want? If you submit yourself you will save yourself from suffering. I may even chose to preserve your consciousness. But for now... - hngh!"

    The remaining fog around Europa gathered together into an enormous hand. It groped for Luo Xianni.

    She was ready. In a flash she was far away and out of Monarch's reach. She was unable to break its defenses, but at least until the monster's evolution was complete she could still flee. However she could tell from the faded purple light around Europa that the evolution was mere moments from completion.

    "It is just a matter of time. All you can do is wait for me to viit destruction upon your people!" Monarch hissed.

    Just then several glints of light flickered around Middle Heaven. A series of figured emerged and were heading toward Luo Xianni.

    After Luo Xianni's revelations from before, the truth was quickly unraveled by others. Those that came toward here now were the rest of Skyfire Avenue's Paragons.

    "Aunt, what should we do?" It was the Wine Master who asked her. His face was stern, for though there appeared to be little they could do he could not wait for death!

    She answered somberly. "The only thing we can do is wait for Lan Qing and the others to employ the Banishing Stance. Only, they haven't - "

    Before she could finish her thought four rays of light shined out from within Middle Heaven. Turquoise, white, red, blue. Like four heavenly spears they shot out toward where the Paragons had gathered. For a moment it was like all of space was painted in those magnificent colors. Suddenly four more figures joined them.

    The lights weren't from the Banishing Blades. They came from the bodies of Lan Qing, Lan Jue, the Pharmacist, and Zhou Qianlin.

    Lan Qing's entire body radiated the blue-green light, making him look fantastical. Lan Jue flashed with pulses of red light. Zhou Qianlin's blue aura was ever changing. Finally, the Pharmacist's light was the most pure, the snow-white purity of murderous intent.

    The four of them appeared at precisely the right moment, pillars of strength in a sea of uncertainty. The Paragons were less anxious in their presence. There was a shimmer of light and Li Ke appeared from Lan Qing's body.

    "You're successful?" The Wine Master asked Lan Jue. He sensed something inscrutable about the young man that wasn't there before. As a Reflection of Heaven and Earth the old Paragon still couldn't tell the depths of Lan Jue's newfound abilities.

    Lan Jue responded calmly. "It isn't clear, we'll only know once we try. There's no time to lose."

    Indeed it was true, they couldn't wait. Once the evolution was complete their chances of survival fell away to nothing. Everything rested on their ability to enact the Banishing Strategy before Monarch could succeed.

    Lan Qing nodded his head. The four sword bearers floated out into space. They didn't spread too far before stopping and turned to face one another. The lights that radiated from them became all the more resplendent.

    Lan Jue's eyes were sharp and glinted in the starlight. As bearer of Captus he was not leader of the four blades, but he was the strongest Paragon present. It fell to him to lead the attempt.

    The reflection of the cosmos reflected in his deep eyes. Star twinkled back making his gaze bright and brilliant. It almost seemed to make all the universe brighter. His aura began to swell and expand. A purple crown appeared placed upon his head as his body became larger. It was his dharmic image, the Middle Heaven Great Emperor of the North Pole Star of Purple Subtlety.

    Lan Jue's Boundless Starlight Domain was contained within. Luo Xianni suddenly sensed her son's aura surge, surpassing Nirvana and peeking into the realm of the Infinite. In the same moment the pressure of universal protogenia was evident all around them. She could feel Lan Jue's life force draining.

    In the midst of his transformation Zhou Qianlin was next. She swayed and grew, clad in a magnificent fluttering white robe. Guanyin, the Queen of Heaven! Her body flickered a hundred shades of blue, but there was also a shell of white light that emerged from her. The warm light spread until it hung over all four of them. To Lan Jue his body instantly felt lighter as the pain of universal protogenia was forced away.

    Very quickly Qianlin's powers also arose to the Infinite. It was a temporary increase from her dharma and Domain, but she nonetheless commanded supreme power.

    Clearly the results of their quarantine were good, better than they might have anticipated. At least their cultivation had reached the upper levels of Nirvana. With Qianlin's help Lan Qing and the Pharmacist enjoyed good stability from their empowered abilities.

    As the four young warriors began to prepare, the Photographer turned to address the other Paragons. "We have to serve as their custodians, this is our last chance. No matter what, we must help them succeed."

    Her words were cryptic, but everyone knew precisely what she meant. This could very well be their final moments, victory or defeat were near at hand. Only the Banishing Strategy could save them. At Luo Xianni's instructions they spread out and made a defensive line.

    Kang Hui, still seated in the control room, had come back to his senses. When he saw the two brothers appear on his screens, his heart was filled with resolve.

    "Listen up. Tyrannosaurus reposition to the fore. Middle Heaven, take up position in the rear..." The armada's formation was restructured as per his commands.

    Tyrannosaurus slowly moved to the front and blocked the Paragons from view of Europa. Poseidon was on their left, Heron on the right, and Middle Heaven behind. The ten fleets took up defensive positions.

    If this was their last chance, Kang Hui wasn't going to allow the aliens to interrupt it.

    "You foolish humans. How can you not see that your opposition is in vain?" Monarch's voice echoed again in everyone's ear. It was harsh as ever, but if one listened closely they might hear something else in the monster's voice.

    The golden light that surrounded Europa, its shield, began to ripple. It started small, but soon became towering waves of energy that circumnavigated the planet.

    It was afraid! Kang Hui's eyes went wide. He could see the change coming over Europa from the bridge and knew that Monarch was urging more energy into its defenses. It could only mean the monster was afraid of what those swords might do.

    The aliens had been ahead of them every step of the way, and their responses had always been spot on. This reaction had significance as well, namely that Monarch must have felt the danger headed its way. This returned a glint of hope to Kang Hui's troubled heart. By now all the ships were in place, shields glimmered around every battleship and bastion. Lan Jue and the others were covered front, back, left, right, up and down. They were defended on all sides. All the strength of the human armada was turned toward defense, charged with making sure Lan Jue's mission was a success.

    Lan Jue floated calmly in space. "Not copper, not iron, not steel; Once hidden beneath the stones of Mount Meru." Suddenly there was a flash of red around him and he was encased in a keen aura. All at once he was like Captus in human form. The power of the sword spilled out of his every pore.

    Zhou Qianlin's crystalline voice followed. "The perversion of yin-yang did not it make; What flame or fluid could dull its edge?" A hundred thousand copies of Demortus appeared, glittering blue like a crystal forest. They spread far and wide, so much that the Paragons defending them were forced to move farther back.
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