Chapter 82: Ascension

    Chapter 82: Ascension

    Gabriel fixed Lan Jue with his eyes. "Zeus, I'll stress again - we don't want to be enemies."

    Lan Jue laughed softly in response. "But I already am, aren't I. I really don't have a choice, and neither do you. The only thing left to say can be said through power. If you want to take Mika, you've got one road - and that's over my dead body."

    Michael's response was calm. "If that's the case, there's nothing more to say. Gabriel, you handle these. Zeus is mine."

    Brilliant pillars of light erupted from the three angels. Their pure white wings splayed out to magnificent lengths. Each bore six wondrous wings. Each were Six-Winged Seraphim!

    An Angelism resulting in a six-winged seraph meant they were at least a ninth-level Talent, seventh ranked. And Michael, the Angel of War, lead the Seven Archangels as a ninth-level ninth-ranked master. He'd attained the peak of cultivation.

    Gabriel, the Messenger of Death was ninth-level, eighth-ranked. Raphael, the Angel of Healing, ninth-level seventh-ranked.

    Great beams of golden-red light shot manically from Michael's back. "Zeus, the widely renowned. I've long awaited this battle."

    Lan jue lazily puffed on his cigar. "You've thought about this, Michael? You know me, you know I don't let a slight go unpunished. Let this be the end, for if I leave here alive, the Pontiff's Castle will never know another day of peace."

    Michael's eyes flashed dangerously. "Still you threaten me."

    Lan Jue's response was cool, collected. "I'm telling you what will happen. If I die here, you'll create some scene to confuse any who come to investigate. But if I don't, if I walk out of here, you know what the consequences will be. If you didn't, you'd have come for me long ago on Skyfire Avenue."

    Michael huffed. "Since when did Zeus resort to talking to solve his problems?"

    Lan Jue laughed, though it was an expression that never reached his eyes. "You know? I actually want to stamp my cigar out on that irritating face of yours. Unfortunately it's a method that doesn't fit with my noble decorum. But it sure would make me happy."

    "Guoguo, Ke'er. Protect Mika. Leave these three to me!" As he spoke, he took a single stride forward to meet his assailants.

    In the space of that single step, the lackadaisical and indifferent Lan Jue underwent a dramatic change.

    A golden mask appeared from nowhere, covering his features. In the same instant there appeared a brilliant golden cape. His hair grew long, like spun gold. Once more he appeared as he did that day on the mountain top, 'rescuing' Zhou Qianlin from her marriage.

    This man wasn't Lan Jue. In this moment, he truly was - Zeus!

    But the angels didn't look on in stillness. In those few moments they, too, were in motion.

    A dazzling flash of golden red like the rising sun burst in to bloom before Zeus' face. The explosion released an incomparable blast of light and heat.

    The holy fire reflected off of Zeus' golden mask. His right hand short forth, and a terrible blast of blue light erupted towards his adversaries. It charged forth like a spear, piercing to the depths of that golden orb of light and fire.

    Terrible bursts of energy issued from the point of contact. The electric energies cast forth by Zeus seemed to devour the orb. With the air still crackling from the power of the impact, he took another step forward. Surrounded by the remnants of their opening salvo, his approach seemed even more menacing.

    The Messenger of Death deftly avoided the blast, floating effortlessly in the air as though he were taking a leisurely stroll. Suddenly, a holy light expanded from his body, pure and brilliant, and raced towards the three women. The chorus of angels rang from it's depths.

    Mika hadn't moved from her original spot. Her red hair hung lose, framing her pretty face. With head slightly bent, she stood still and silent - as though the events of the world around her didn't exist.

    Lin Guoguo strode forward until she stood between Gabriel and Mika. Her right hand was pressed against her forehead, and a sharp golden light flashed from her eyes. Behind her appeared a golden faceless figure, surrounded by a blazing ring of light. In the blink of an eye the halo burst in to innumerable golden bolts, which launched themselves violently towards the assaulting angel.

    The aura around Gabriel shifted perceptibly, created a black void between them. Guoguo's arrows of light fired harmlessly within and vanished.

    It wasn't a second later that reality ruptured between them, and from the depths of the tear a great azure hand swiped at Gabriel's halo of light. The attack landed to the side, succeeding in tearing it asunder.

    "I said leave the three to me," Zeus' roaring voice thundered forth.

    Boooom! Earsplitting peels of thunder rang through the heavens. Threading bolts of blue lightning became encased in golden light, and furiously detonated from between Zeus and the Angel of War.

    The fiery red figure of Michael staggered out.

    Another step forward, and Zeus reached his hand in to a void in space. When he retracted it, a great spear of golden lightning writhes in his grip. He jabbed the weapon towards the red angel.

    The air shimmered and parted like water before the tip of Zeus' spear. Michael grunted and, exposed from the assault, staggered back a few steps.

    Zeus wasted no time. The opening allowed him to turn his golden spear of lightning to Gabriel.

    Suddenly, dual beams of holy light descended form on high, encasing Michael and Gabriel. The light served as a shield, divine intervention, which also caused the energies pouring from their bodies to become enhanced.

    "Let the skies open!" Zeus' penetrating roars resounded around them.

    At his call a terrible boom of thunder followed, and the air above them became riddled with scores of golden fissures.

    The white shield of light before Gabriel split like paper in the face of Zeus' golden spear. The crackling bolt veritably screamed as it made for his face.

    Gabriel's eyes grew wide, and his face paled in terror. Instinctively he drew his six wings before him like a barrier, and his body became consumed in blessed white light.

    A shrill cry filled the air as the blinding light receded. Gabriel's body fell from the shell of brilliance, collapsing to the floor. Two of his six wings had been horribly mangled. Golden rivers of blood sputtered from the angel's mouth.

    "Ascension... ?" The Angel of Healing, Raphael, was struck dumb as he watched the scene.

    Slowly, Zeus turned to look at Raphael. Slowly, his right hand lifted to point to the roiling, shattered skies.

    "The heavens shall splinter!"

    The world grew bright as day. With Zeus at it's center, scores of searing golden lightning erupted from the skies to obliterate everything they fell upon. In the face of this abominable tempest, even the three great angels of the Pontiff's Castle had to devote all of their power to self preservation.

    The heavens indeed fractured, in from the blue skies and white clouds there radiated forth a great beam of light.

    "Hmph!" The grunt was cold and angry. Michael, Angel of War, stood unmoved, his six wings keeping him aloft.

    Each beat of his great wings radiated powerful, holy light. The shimmering glow spread across his pure white wings until they, too, shone gold with power.

    As the last feather of his wings absorbed the golden glow, they split apart. Twelve glorious wings beat furiously at Michael's back. But more than that, behind the mighty warrior a shimmering ethereal figure with twelve wings of it's own hovered.

    The true angel had emerged. Adventus.
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