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Chapter 902: Preserving Immortal Essence

    Chapter 902: Preserving Immortal Essence

    Protected by an astrum, the fragment of a soul could persist for much longer than normal.

    Once Luo Xianni's spirit was recovered Lan Jue continued his search. He quickly found the Pauper, Keeper, Bookworm, and the gods of wine. They were also conveyed into the Compliance Rod.

    However, when he looked for Hua Li he was surprised and saddened to discover there was no trace that remained of him.

    "A-Li!" When he returned to the corpses of Hua Li and Mo Xiao his heart was a tempest of emotion.

    Zhou Qianlin gripped his hand. She said nothing and only hung her head before the scene. To claim there was no animosity within her would have been a lie, but be it Xiuxiu or Hua Li, they gave their lives to try and make it right. They died protecting Lan Jue. Could hate survive in the face of such sacrifice?

    A thought came to Lan Jue. He extricated his hand from Qianlin's and reached forth to search the bodies for any residual parts of Hua Li's soul. But then a blue light from the distance captured his attention. As it approached, he watched in shock.

    The one who came looked a lot like Hua Li, if more mature. He regarded Lan Jue with a calm expression, and was wreathed in pale blue light.

    He nodded once he was close. "We'll take him. The Poseidon family has its own ways." Hua Xu answered Lan Jue's unspoken question. There was no indication any of this had affected him emotionally.

    Lan Jue regarded him with a pained and conflicted expression. "Uncle, I..."

    Hua Xu cut him off with a wave of his hand. "Destiny makes fools of us all. I can only hope that you see some way to forgive them. When the light of one's life goes out, it should extinguish their follies."

    Lan Jue nodded his head. Hua Li and Mo Xiao were dead, harboring hatred and resentment would serve no one. He didn't bear any ill-will toward his fallen brother.

    Hua Xu extended it right hand, and from it floated a deep blue crystal. It slowly floated through space glittering in the dim light until it came to the bodies of his children. It flickered with a blue light that hung over the bodies, and moments later when it vanished so too did Hua Li and Mo Xiao.

    Hua Xu nodded a final time toward Lan Jue, then turned and left.

    However, he did not go far before stopping. He turned back and fixed Lan Jue with his eyes. "After this fight, it will take a long time for the Group to recover. Hua Li hoped that you could help look after he and Mo Xiao's child. It was his desire that their little one could live on Skyfire Avenue. Is there anything that might make this impossible?"

    Lan Jue did not immediately reply, so Hua Xu continued. "You might not expect it from looking at our family, but our heirs are not immediately granted the full rights and powers of the bloodline. They employ the benefits of the family to choose their own path, and ultimately undergo the process of accepting the lineage. So it is destined. Of course none of us wish for this burden, neither I nor A-Li wanted to carry this mantle. I failed. Under cover of this conflict, as Hua Li was leaving to join the fight, Mo Xiao sent a ship back toward Skyfire Avenue bearing their child. I ask that you seek his aura, and bring our heir to Skyfire Avenue so that he might grow and prosper. When he comes of age, if he so chooses he can return and take up his rightful place as leader of Poseidon Group. If he does not..." Hua Xu stopped, a smile on his face. He didn't finish the thought before a flash of blue light conveyed him far away.

    Lan Jue heaved a sigh. A piece of A-Li still existed somewhere! A-Li, he thought to himself, I'll do whatever I can to grant your final wish. I'll look after your son.

    The battle was finally over, and the Wine Master left to spread the good news across all the human worlds. However when Lan Jue returned to his fellows his face was no less serious and burdened. They looked into the distance where the gold-blanketed legacy of the aliens remained. They silently regarded Europa, immortal realm of their enemy.

    "Brother, what are we going to do about this?" Lan Jue asked.

    Lan Qing's deep voice replied. "Under the power of faith the Banishing Strategy is strong. As its guides we can direct its power to smother and destroy Europa. We can erase every last trace of these aliens, once and for all."

    "No." Li Ke answered quickly and firmly. Everyone turned their attention to him.

    He explained. "Creating an immortal realm is phenomenally difficult. I wouldn't be surprised to learn it'd taken ten thousand years of preparation for the aliens to succeed here. It was based off of what Monarch could piece together from the ancient immortal realm of our history, so its existence isn't actually a threat. Now that the aliens are dead, we can take this realm for ourselves. Think about it, all four of you have reached the Infinite and the moment you leave the protection of the Strategy universal protogenia will leech your vitality. The only way you can continue to grow as Paragons is if you do so under the protection of an immortal realm."

    Lan Jue bitterly shook his head. "I have absolutely no interest in continuing this journey. It was never my dream to become an immortal, all I ever wanted was a normal life. Besides, so long as he we don't deliberately seek cultivation Qianlin's Domain can protect us from universal protogenia."

    Li Ke paused, then wryly chuckled. "You still can't destroy this place, even despite your personal desires. The immortal realm is the only way in which you can bring the others back. You have your selfish motives and so do I. I want my body back, to live a normal life where I can be with my family. Small as that chance might be, I have to pursue it no matter how remote."

    Lan Qing blinked in surprise. "You're saying we can use their primordial spirits in the immortal realm to bring our friends back?"

    Li Ke answered. "Theoretically yes. An immortal realm is replete with immortal qi that circulates through it as ubiquitous as the wind. Its basis is in faith, and I could sense that Monarch's intention was not to kill the humans once he'd succeeded in his desire to bring about the immortal realm. What he really wanted was for humans to submit and accept him as their god. Then he could feed off of our faith. Right now Europa is sustained by the faith of all those Monarch consumed. However, this had made the realm unstable. Immortal qi will continue to be consumed but not replenished. For you four, it would be different. You're heroes, and if you claim the immortal realm as your own you can inject it with the faith of the masses. You are the only ones that can stabilize this place and replenish its power."

    "Not only will immortal qi protect you from universal protogenia, it will also nourish and restore the fragments of primordial spirit you've gathered. I dare say that with the help of immortal qi you could bring Jua Di back to life quickly. The others may take more time but are likely to walk the worlds of man once more."

    Nearby, Chu Cheng extended the golden skeleton he carried, the remnants of the Terminator. "Is there a chance his Majesty the Terminator..."

    Li Ke sighed and shook his head. "Too much time has passed, his primordial spirit has already dissolved. A Paragon's spirit can only survive about an hour before it returns to the universe."

    Chu Cheng's disappointment was visible. He could say that the Terminator had given him new life. Without the Northern leader's help Chu Cheng's rise would never have been so quick. With the Terminator gone, the responsibilities of being the North's sole Paragon fell to him.

    Lan Qing pressed the spirit. "So what do you suggest we do now, comrade?"

    Li Ke's response came without hesitation. "First we should go to Europa and see if anything remains of the three home worlds. If it does that poison must be removed. Using the Banishing Strategy to surround Europa was not wrong, for if we find that there is no saving this immortal realm it can quickly be destroyed. That responsibility will be left up to the four of you. In addition, if in the future anyone wants to enter the immortal realm they could only do so with your blessing and guidance. Until one or more of you achieve Da Luo status as immortals the Banishing Strategy will persist. In the meanwhile, you simply need to control it."

    Lan Qing looked at Lan Jue, who nodded back. "It sounds like the best course of action. Let's go to Europa, and see if we can't solve any problems we come across."

    With Monarch dead, in principle there should be nothing remaining of the three alien planets. However, they couldn't be sure until they went to Europa and searched it themselves. With the backing of the Banishing Strategy they would make sure everything was in order.

    Were it not for the possibility of saving his friends and family from permanent death, Lan Jue would much have preferred destroying this immortal realm. He'd have liked to see it pass into history and erase any possibility of future trouble.

    The four sword bearers didn't rush into the immortal realm. First they guided the Banishing Strategy's power so that it settled over Europa, and only then began their trek to the gold-wreathed planet.

    "Let's go." Lan Qing ordered.

    The four of them entered into the newly remoulded planet's atmosphere together. Immediately they were embraced by the multifaceted aura of the Strategy and the effects it provided. The golden light of Europa caused them no trouble, and they entered without issue.

    All they felt was their bodies becoming lighter, and suddenly they were in what seemed to be a whole new reality.

    Space was a vacuum, and while it didn't threaten a Paragon's life it could not be called comfortable. They left the distressing sensation behind as they slipped into Europa's atmosphere.

    They took their first breaths of Europaen air, filling them with delight. It seemed like just being here was increasing their cultivation by the moment.

    Li Ke and the other Paragons didn't come with them. It was dangerous until Lan Jue and the others discovered otherwise, so they were told to remain behind. Only Lan Jue, Lan Qing, Zhou Qianlin and the Pharmacist stepped foot in this immortal plane.

    They looked at each other, nearly speechless.

    "So this is the immortal realm?" Qianlin managed to say.
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