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Chapter 901: Shards of Primordial Spirits

    Chapter 901: Shards of Primordial Spirits

    Monarch and the Violet Prince had been destroyed, forever erased from the universe by the power of the Banishing Strategy.

    Red light drained out from Lan Jue's eyes. He had been the one to guide their concentrated power. Now that Monarch was destroyed, at last the threat of alien aggression had passed.

    He revealed no pleasure from their victory, no excitement. There were still problems to address - chief among them, how to restrain the Strategy safely. They hadn't been sure they could even succeed in establishing the attack, and thus had given stopping it not even a passing thought.

    Through the power of faith they were ultimately able to overcome the enemy. The Banishing Strategy had been enacted and was stable, endowing them with a caliber of strength that far outstripped their wildest imaginings.

    As the prayers of billions were continuously laid upon them, the swords thirstily drank of their gifts. The Banishing blades used it to complete what the sword bearers couldn't do on their own.

    In a series of flashes Lan Jue and the others appeared, standing at the four corners of the Strategy. However, none of them were holding their weapon.

    Lan Qing looked from one to the other, his expression uncertain. "What now?"

    Lan Jue smirked at his brother. "How do I know? Wine Master, could I trouble you to report Monarch's death to Kang Hui? All remaining enemies have been destroyed. That should curtail the faith flowing into it. I'm afraid if we don't do something to weaken it the Strategy will continue to solidify."

    The Wine Master interjected, curious. "What's the problem with that?"

    "Well, to start if it keeps getting stronger I'm not sure we'll have the means to stop it," he answered. "It would remain here forever, and this whole area would be too dangerous to ever go near again."

    His old friend nodded. "What do you think is needed to get it to stop?"

    Lan Jue pondered out loud. "According to our estimates we would need to be Da Luo-level immortals if we wanted to exert that level of control. If one of us were that could be enough." He sounded unconvinced even as he said it.

    Lan Qing wryly added his voice. "And it has to be you. You were the one who led the Strategy."

    The Wine Master sucked in a surprised breath. "So you're saying that anyone who enters this field will be instantly killed?" If the Strategy would bring down a god, he shuddered to think of what it might do to a normal person.

    "Not necessarily," Lan Jue answered. "If one of us - the sword bearers - guided someone through then they would be fine. After all, we're part of the Strategy ourselves. But if someone were to enter without us it would probably end as you'd expect. I... don't recommend you try it."

    The Wine Master's brows furrowed in thought. "If it's simply a matter of closing of a section of space that shouldn't be too great of an issue. It's impossible to expect you to reach the highest level of immortality any time within the conceivable future! Are there any other dangers we need to consider?"

    Lan Jue explained further. "Right now the Strategy is still under our control, and there is no immediate problem. However, I think it's fair to expect that the zone will expand once we leave and are no longer maintaining its borders. None of us can know how large it'll spread, but if I had to guess I'd say it would at least swallow up Europa and everything around it. But before we consider that, it isn't completely unthinkable for us to reach Da Luo."

    As he spoke, he swung his eyes toward Europa floating placidly in the distance.

    Monarch and the Violet Prince had been vanquished, but the fruits of their evil labors remained. Basking in a pale golden glow the newly crafted immortal realm flooded the area with its aura. Lan Jue and the others, now risen to the Infinite, could feel it clearly from where they stood.

    Indeed this was their next problem. What were they to do with the alien's immortal realm?

    "We can deal with that later. Right now there are more pressing matters." Li Ke interrupted them. His voice bore a somewhat urgent tone.

    Lan Jue turned his attention toward the spirit. "What is it, brother-in-law?"

    After absorbing so much faith, Li Ke was almost indistinguishable from any of them. The Pharmacist was even holding his hand, and the smile on her face betrayed her happiness.

    Li Ke, however, was not smiling. "You have to gather the spirit shards. Fragments of what remains of the Paragons' souls. In a way what we call Paragons can be likened to 'half immortals', Taoist magicians of the ancient times. After spending so long cultivating, their souls become like primordial spirits. Primordial spirits don't disappear so easily, just like the ancient gods whose essence remains even though they lost to universal protogenia. Even now, thousands of years later, we can still feel their echoes. If we hurry and gather these shards now, there's a chance we could bring them back to life!"

    Lan Jue froze when he heard it. If this were true and they could return their friends and loved ones to life, today's victory would be absolute.

    "How do we do that?" He asked urgently.

    Li Ke explained. "The four of you have reached the Infinite. If you search your feelings you can sense them."

    "Excellent!" With such good news, how could Lan Jue ignore it? Even Lan Qing's steadfast demeanor hid a buzz of excitement. If Li Ke was right they could bring Luo Xianni and the others back from the dead!

    Lan Jue shut his eyes and reached out with his perception. He began to search the area for any sign of these spirits.

    He was calm now, and no longer burdened by the dangers he'd faced before. His sense of his surroundings was different. Suddenly there was something more, hidden behind a veil.

    In theory space was largely empty. Aside from relatively miniscule pockets of matter, space was defined by how much nothing there was. However when someone's consciousness reached a certain level of understanding, they found this to be untrue. Their perception was more sensitive than even the most advanced instruments, telling them that there was something else.

    Even up to now Lan Jue and the others radiated polychromatic light, a residue from the Banishing Strategy. So almighty was the Strategy's influence that universal protogenia still couldn't apply its pressures on them.

    Safe for the time being, Lan Jue searched his consciousness until he came upon a strange and arresting impression. However it was not human. Far from it, in fact - it was what remained of the three-headed avatar.

    The pulses of primordial energy were odd and uncomfortable. They seemed desperate to gather together, as though hoping it could reconstitute itself. It made Lan Jue shiver, for he knew that somewhere within the six souls that had made up that beast was a whisper of Monarch's consciousness.

    Monarch was gone, completely destroyed by the Strategy, leaving these spirits on their own. It was almost pitiful to feel these fragments trying to piece themselves back together, like they had a chance to somehow come back.

    Now that he saw them, how could Lan Jue give them even a shadow of hope?

    Lan Jue lifted his right hand and summoned an electric blue light from the ether. When they light fell upon the cluster of spiritual energy it released a haze of pale purple which blanketed the area, sparkling with points of illumination. It was Lan Jue's Boundless Starlight Domain.

    As Lan Jue became stronger, both his control over the Domain and its menace had increased exponentially. Heavenly Lightning began to crackle the moment his Domain manifested itself.

    The blasts of lightning that tore into the cluster of souls was nothing short of harrowing. But before these evil fragments could feel fear, they were burned from existence. Nothing remained. They would never threaten the worlds of man again.

    Lan Jue had called his Domain to prevent these fragments from scattering, but also - more importantly - so that his lightning would not hard the spirit shards he sought to save.

    With the last vestiges of his enemy destroyed, Lan Jue breathed easier. When he began to search anew his perception settled on something nearby.

    A copper-gold halo surrounded appeared. Near it, a fragment nearly as strong as the ones Lan Jue had wiped out lingered. Though weaker, it was more persistent and slowly drew itself closer to the golden light.

    Lan Jue raced over to where the light shimmered and reached out for it.

    "Qianlin," he called. She hurriedly came to his side. Lan Jue's Boundless Starlight Domain could destroy nearly any enemy that crossed his path, but it was not built to heal or rescue. What was better for this purpose that the Light of the Goddess of Mercy?

    The golden light was radiating from Jue Di's astrum, the Compliance Rod. The spirit that was so desperately trying to stay with it was what remained of Luo Xianni.

    Only the simplest desires were left to these broken spirits. It was clear what mattered most to Luo Xianni was finding the Compliance Rod, for within it she could be together with Jue Di.

    Luo Xianni pointed with her right hand. She was also now of the Infinite and could sense what Lan Jue saw. With the utmost care she guided Luo Xianni to the rod and the spirit of her lost love.

    When a primordial spirit left one's body it was assailed by the cruel power of universal protogenia. It was torn apart, and ultimately dissipated into the vastness of space to be lost forever.
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