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Chapter 889: Formation

    Chapter 889: Formation

    The Pharmacist voice rang out. "Ultus - sharp, Occisus - death, Captus - universal red light, Demortus - the ever changing." A surge of white light shot out and brought with it a stifling brutal aura. Slashes of Occisus' energy criss-crossed the breadth of where its aura reached. The stronger her cultivation rose, the brighter Occisus burned.

    Lan Qing was last to speak the words. "Immortals, eternal and marvelous, have their robes stained with blood." The refreshing hue of Ultus arose as though summoned and coiled around him. Turquoise light shot into the sky and all at once the four Banishing Blades began to hum. Though the weapons themselves were yet to appear, all four of their bearers were illuminated by their power.

    Halfway through their seclusion the four Paragons saw an increase to their cultivation, especially Lan Qing and the Pharmacist. Both of them broke through to Nirvana and in doing so understood how difficult enacting the Strategy would be. The more they learned of this unique power the more they saw what it would require. The sheer cost in energy was staggering to consider, only a true immortal could reliable stand it. The greatest weapon under heaven was aptly named, and just as dangerous to wield.

    After some discussion - and with the help of Xuanyuan Shishi, Jun Yongye and Li Ke - they came to a bold decision. They would give their bodies fully to their swords, so that these great and terrible instruments of destruction would become a part of them.

    The benefits of doing this were that they and the swords became inexorably linked. In many ways they became the Banishing Blades, and the blades became them. All the energy within them, including their protogenia and vital energy, could be used to galvanize the weapons. Thus their chances of successfully laying out the Banishing Strategy increased.

    However this was not without dangers. After carefully studying the strategy they discovered that once the strategy was unleashed it could not be stopped. The swords would ravenously devour all the energy it could. If it worked all of their problems would be solved. But if it failed the four of them would be the first ones to lose their lives.

    Before becoming one with the swords there had existed the possibility they could break off the strategy and at least escape with their lives. Such possibilities no longer existed now that they were united. IF the Strategy became unstable, they would die.

    However, despite the dangers all four agreed. The time had come to burn the boats and turn their eyes forward - this was their last resort. People fought hardest to live when they were faced with the certainty of death. If they were given no option of retreat the four sword bearers would be bound to give their all.

    This was not to say they didn't examine contingencies. Triumph or defeat, they would have to submit to the will of heaven.

    The four mighty emanations from the blades mingled among one another. Threads of ethereal light spread out from each person and made the scene indistinct. They wrapped around one another until they created a series of mystical runes - four in total, one of each sword bearer. The runes hovered over them causing reality to ripple from the injection of power.

    They'd started close to each other, but as the runes appear there appeared a gulf. From outside it seemed large enough to swallow whole planets, and was growing larger.

    ξ

    Aboard Poseidon.

    "Get out of the way!" Hua Li glared at Mo Xiao. His growling voice was anything but tender.

    Mo Xiao threw open her arms in defiance. "I will not. I'm not letting you leave. There are already many Paragons looking over them, and besides you're only in the Realm of Protogenia. Do you think there's that big of a difference without you there? What does going out there achieve? Can't you do more good staying here, commanding this bastion?"

    Hua Li roared back at her. "Of course not! My friends and compatriots are out there putting it all on the line for humanity, and what am I doing sitting here? I need to be out there too, protecting them. I may not be the strongest of them but any help can make a difference."

    Mo Xiao's eyes were full of pain. "He's always been the most important thing to you, hasn't she. This isn't about your brothers, it's about him."

    Hua Li paused for a moment. Glaring daggers, he hissed at her. "Get out of the way!"

    "No! You'll have to kill me first. Those aliens have almost completed their evolution, we should get far away from here. Every asset and every life of Poseidon Group is on this ship, our whole future. If we wait until their evolution is complete it will be too late. If you go out there now how can we retreat?"

    "You're still thinking about leaving, now of all times?" Hua Li screamed. "If you want to leave, then leave. I am not going anywhere, no matter what. I will live or die with my compatriots, fighting to the very last moment. You would see Poseidon Group running away when all of mankind was facing destruction?"

    Hua Li took a threatening step forward, seeking to push Mo Xiao to the side and leave.

    Mo Xiao, of course, was no match for him. She was pushed away but swung back and wrapped her arms around Hua Li's waist.

    "Don't go, I'm begging you. Don't go!" Tears ran freely down her face. In this moment she was nothing like the president of Poseidon Group. She was a normal woman, stricken and helpless.

    "Release me." Hua Li sighed, and the anger in his face eased. "I know we should leave - for the Group, for our family. I know. But I just can't do it. When I leave take everyone and flee this place. The Group only needs you and... and our child. That's all the family needs in case something happens to me. But you have to understand that I can't go with you. For my comrades, for the family, it doesn't matter. If the Banishing Strategy is successful and the aliens are slain, everything we've accomplished up to now would be wasted. We will have become the enemy of all humanity, deserters and scoundrels. It will be the end of us. Whatever way you look at it, I have to go out there."

    Choked with sobs, Mo Xiao replied. "I don't care, I don't. I just want you to be safe. You don't have to love me, you don't have to be my husband, I just don't want anything to happen to you. I just want to be able to see you every day."

    An ache crossed Hua Li's expression. "Enough, let me go. I have to do this. Just like you feel, I feel the same to the one in my heart. Don't you think I know everything you've done?"

    When his words washed over her Mo Xiao shook. Her arms went slack but she did not let go.

    Hua Li tightly shut his eyes against the pain. "I'm right, it was you. But what can I do? Although we can't truly be man and wife, how can I not know how you feel about me? And me, I am human and have my own selfish wishes. But I saw suffer terrible, silent all the while. Do you think I could stand that? What's done is done, but I will never forget what you did. All I want is to fight by his side, even if it means my death. One last escapade. I'm sorry Mo Xiao. Maybe in the next life..."

    Suddenly his body was encased in light, and the Poseidon Group's patriarch shot off as a ray of light. Mo Xiao cried out with a heart-wrenching wail and fell to the floor. She lay there quivering with sobs, tears falling in torrents.

    "A-Li... A Li..."

    Messages from the various departments of the Poseidon family crackled through her communicator. They all made the same request; that they leave as quickly as possible.

    The department heads were chosen for being intelligent, discerning individuals. Each of them knew what was happening to Europa. The aliens were evolving, and there was no way to stop them. Just as Mo Xiao had pleaded, they begged her for permission to leave on behalf of the family's safety. But Hua Li had left, how could she give the order?

    Mo Xiao clawed her way back to her command desk and fell into the chair. Gritting her teeth, she gave them her orders.

    A few moments later a beam of blue light was blasting off from Poseidon into the distance. It was a vessel, perhaps the size of a Capital ship, with a hull that glittered crystalline blue from bow to stern. It seemed less metal and more gemstone.

    The ship sped off into the recesses of space. In a blink, all trace of it was gone. The cries of a small infant rang through its largely empty halls.

    ξ

    Golden mist rotated rapidly around the planet, spreading out to create an effective shield. Gradually the mist became more transparent, and Europa's situation was revealed to everyone. To everyone's surprise there was no ferocity within the enveloping light. Instead the scene was stunningly beautiful.

    Spectacular vistas appeared on the surface of Europa. Towering mountains and picturesque valleys spread as far as they could see. The planet was rife with all kinds of vegetation. Never had Europa looked so magnificent. However, any sign of the cities that once graced its surface was gone.

    It had become a fairyland, like in the tales of old. Beneath the golden shell of light it was a paradise that took everyone's breath away.

    Europa continued to slowly spin, each rotation causing the golden light to ripple. As the seconds ticked by the golden shell became more transparent. It remained settled above the world perhaps ten thousand meters above its atmosphere.
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