Chapter 892: Suppression

    Chapter 892: Suppression

    Suddenly a thick and oppressive aura filled the air.

    Four beams of light split the sky as they shot up. Turquoise, white, red and blue seemed to paint all the universe. A primitive, almost primordial sensation poured from the columns as they appeared.

    Four figured previously hidden by the glare were again revealed.

    Hovering above Lan Jue's head was Captus, whose length was covered in golden runes. Much like the first time his dharma manifested itself as the Middle Heaven Great Emperor of the North Star of Purple Subtlety, all of the sword's powers were brought to bear.

    Lan Qing, Zhou Qianlin and the Pharmacist appeared in similarly resplendent fair. Like Lan Jue, their swords appeared overhead and blazed with golden runes. The cocoon of light that had enveloped them was replaced by a bizarre and motley display. Pure chaos reigned all around them.

    Monarch, who had just thrown aside caution for curiosity, watched in awe. His pupils contracted to tiny pits of black, for suddenly the nagging sense of danger had become a screaming alarm. The ethereal aura of Europa that he relied on for protection was in danger of scattering like a morning mist before the light of the Banishing Blades.

    What was this power, that even immortal qi was rendered ineffectual? Did these humans actually possess a way to harm a god?

    All throughout this conflict with the humans Monarch had carefully planned every step. Even Lan Qing's victories were part of the alien master's schemes. Everything had followed the path he laid out. The only thing outside of his control were the Banishing Blades.

    Monarch even knew when Lan Jue and the Pharmacist had snuck into his planetary person. He'd been curious as to their purpose, what would cause them to undertake such a risk? Why was that sword so important? He hadn't taken them for granted either, and left his strongest avatar to protect Ultus. However, much to his surprise the sword itself revolted and allowed itself to be pilfered from his very heart.

    It was the only circumstance to fall outside of his control. The consequences of this oversight was coming back to haunt him.

    The time for playing with his prey had passed. Monarch leaped forward to try and interrupt the Strategy. Still the size of an average human, he pressed out with his hands toward the chaotic flows amongst the four sword bearers.

    The golden light emitted from his strike was not overly spectacular. However, the pulse of energy released from him was so intense that all of the Paragons - and the two aliens that aided him - were knocked backward. So intense was the shockwave that the human ships swayed dangerously and threatened to be crushed.

    They were lost!

    To Luo Xianni everything went dark. Clearly the Banishing Strategy was not yet completed and Monarch had had time to interrupt it. All was lost, the Strategy was defeated. Humanity's final hope was too late and the alien home worlds had won!

    A terrible scream tore through her mind. She felt waves of shock wash over her, including from the Violet Prince and the three-headed avatar. Luo Xianni steeled herself and forced her attention toward the site of the Banishing Strategy where she was greeted with an incredible scene.

    Monarch's arms were outstretched and the golden light from his palms hung over the area of the Banishing Strategy. Underneath the canopy of that light the chaos continued to swirl, gently at first until with a thunderous burst it broke free.

    Even as powerful as Monarch had become, in the moment the power broke through his containment he found himself sluggish - frozen. Unable to move, the flood of pure chaos smashed into him.

    In the moments following an even stranger spectacle emerged. The golden light that demonstrated Europa's protection vanished, like snow on a spring morning. It was suppressed! The thought struck Luo Xianni as she watched, and once more hope sprang to life in her chest.

    The Banishing Strategy was not yet completely set out, and yet even still it was effective. More than effective - it was able to contend against a golden immortal's direct attack! It meant humanity was not yet doomed.

    The Violet Prince and his companion gaped at what they witnessed. Both of them had felt the terrifying might of that chaos. Before Monarch had been swallowed up by it they'd felt his intention telling them to attack the sword bearers.

    Once Monarch had fallen into their clutches Lan Jue and the others began to blaze with light. That realm of unbridled chaos began to shrink once its prey was captured, as though Monarch had been captured in a universe that was rapidly decaying.

    With a dangerous flash in his eye Lan Jue indicated with his right hand. Captus, which was ringing with the power of the Strategy, released a gust of red power into the stream.

    Zhou Qianlin was next, and Demortus' blue light joined. As it mingled with Captus' intent both were made more powerful. The Banishing Strategy's already magnificent strength was magnified.

    Lan Qing and the Pharmacist followed their example, channeling the essence of their swords into the stream. From the outside the Strategy was a riot of color, including the flickering golden light from Monarch. However, that golden light was quickly weakening.

    Lan Jue and the others stared with intense focus, even as their bodies began to become transparent. With every change of their swords, every burst of light, the results were reflected in their bodies. As the Strategy grew stronger so did they, as though they were bound to it body and soul.

    The Banishing Strategy became a tempest, fully established and with Monarch the center of its harrowing focus. Next was to let it loose.

    The Banishing Strategy was stratified into several levels. Lan Jue and his companions were aiming to accomplish only its simplest manifestation. While to the Paragons outside everything was clear and bright, to Lan Jue and the other sword bearers their weapons were insatiable pits that drank everything in.

    As they continued their struggle to summon the power of the Strategy, the pressure suffered by the Paragons outside only grew. With Monarch caught, the Prince and the avatar fought like wild animals.

    With the Pauper dead the defenders were reduced to eleven. Luo Xianni was a mighty power on their side, but she could feel universal protogenia imposing its limits on her abilities. It was increasingly more difficult to keep the Violet Prince at bay. And if it was difficult for her, the situation was far more dire for the ten paragons tasked with containing the three-headed avatar.

    The Driver had emerged as the leader of their defense. He continued to pummel the hydra monster with Primordial lightning, and his Domain spread across the field. It was only thanks to the empyreal quality of his abilities that the avatar was prevented from killing all of them.

    However, every time that beast attacked it took all ten avatars to beat it back and keep the Domain stable. They were quickly growing tired.

    Whether it was the Wine Master's dimensional abilities or the Clockmaker's control of time, all were limited in their effect on this beast. It was only getting more difficult with time to keep themselves from being destroyed. The slightest mistake could lead to disaster.

    Suddenly figured emerged on the outskirts of their battlefield. Starlight glinted off the metal hulls of countless mecha suits.

    Su Xiaosu's voice rang through every cockpit. "This is it people, life or death. For our families, for our species - with me!"

    A six-winged mecha streaked passed the encirclement and into the fight. Hundreds of glittering metal warriors followed.

    They were soldiers from Star Division, from the Bloodiron Khans, and the convert army of the North. They'd already proven themselves in the battle against the alien horde, and now they were on the front lines again.

    Every one of them knew it was a suicide mission. They were too weak to do anything against an enemy like this. However, if their deaths bought the Paragons even just one extra minute they were glad to die for the cause. Su Xiaosu had made no attempt to hide from them the truth of this mission. If they chose to join the fight, it was likely they wouldn't make it back.

    Nonetheless one fifth of recruits answered the call. For Star Division that number was closer to one in three, and among those were every single one of Lan Jue's former students. An Lun's Bloodiron Khans also showed up in full force.

    Indeed none of Lan Qing's warriors shirked what they felt to be their duty. Though they did not have the individual power of Star Division's soldiers or the Northern converts, they charged into the fray with a fervor that outshone them all. For their country and their people, they were more than willing to give up their precious lives.

    At Xiaosu's call it was the Bloodiron Khans who rushed in first. They arranged themselves into a human wall and cut off the aliens from the Banishing Strategy. They diverted all power to shields and flooded their suits with Discipline.

    Star Division and the converts were a step behind. They formed up, ready to give their all.
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