Chapter 287: Electric Payload

    Chapter 287: Electric Payload

    As the match ended, the Four Divine Monarchs approached the swirling ball of flame that was Deimos. The mecha gathered round, and as one, bent low at the waist in veneration. At this point they had no further qualms with DreamNet or their guardians. Deimos had paid far more in his time than any of the Divine Monarchs likely will. He gave a majority of his life for DreamNet, and that was to be respected.

    "I can't say I'm happy with this result," Mo Xia pined. He words mirrored the feelings many spectator's shared.

    "I imagine that, even though the Star Alliance lost this match, we'll forever hold Deimos in our hearts as one of the greatest pilots to have ever lived. Long live Deimos!"

    :Now to the Monarchs, let me say I hope you're ready to pull out all the stops for our next battles. Let your actions bring honor to the First Under Heaven, until his very last strike. Win or lose, please respect our hero!"

    Mo Xiao's figure appeared, hovering in the air before the giant Sanctuary screens showing the fights. She bowed as well.

    Now, it was on to the fourth map.

    "Turret Legend!"

    Another legacy map from DreamNet. This one had been available here since the very day DreamNet launched, and enjoyed the nostalgic affection of millions of pilots. It was a balanced map, with no inherent advantages for any one class of pilot.

    Like the last fight, the map was separated in to two camps. However, the difference lay in what sat in between. Countless towers dotted the landscape, stretching to the horizon. The prerequisites for victory here wasn't the destruction of your enemies, but to raze their stronghold. The towers and their formidable defensive capabilities served as watchmen and protectors.

    There were three separate paths to the enemy base. With two teams of five, there were a number of tactics that could be employed here. Each road had to be defended, least the enemy march directly in to the base unopposed.

    The fight started without any further pomp or circumstance. A series of flashes heralded the competitors' arrival.

    Nine figures appeared. This time, when the audience watched there was something different in their eyes. There was a sort of solemn respect, both for the Star Alliance, and the Divine Monarchs.

    DreamNet's upgrades had shown the two god teams in a new light. These fights were destined to be remembered for as long as DreamNet remained.

    But what about the last fight? What was that beam of gold and silver Thor had used? What new surprises were in store for this battle? Was Thor now the strongest of the Monarchs? These questions and dozens more peppered the comments section.

    They hoped this fourth encounter would answer some of them.

    As the match commenced the Divine Monarchs broke for their respective routes. Cerberus took the top lane, and Coeus took bottom. That left Thor and Triton were in the middle.

    'Mid-lane', as it was referred, was the widest of the three. It was common practice to send two members to defend it together.

    The Star Alliance was deployed as well. Skyshade and Windbreaker were up top, and Thunderclap in the middle. Starlord took up position on bottom lane. Bahamut, for his part, chose no road. Instead it employed it's impressive speed and disappeared in to the surrounding jungles, toward the enemy stronghold. Flying-class mechas had a slight advantage there.

    The trade-off was that those same flight-specialized mechas were prime targets for towers. Any time one of said towers came under fire, it sent continuous pings to team members, to come and defend.

    Thor raced ahead, with Triton taking up the rear. After the last fight, they were still in high-gear.

    There had been quite a degree of luck involved in their last victory. In fact, even the other three members of Zeus' team weren't aware of what that beam he'd used was. Only Lan Jue himself knew.

    During their duel, it had taken him two collisions to puzzle out precisely what Thunderclap's Discipline was. As expected, it was electricity. Thunderbolt and electricity, in fact, precisely the same as Lan Jue himself. The difference was that Thunderclap's powers were intermingled. Just light real life, his lightning back to come before thunder. The two wouldn't manifest simultaneously. It was enormously powerful, but lacked flexibility. But there was more than that.

    Lan Jue's dual disciplines were of a purely positive nature. The lightning powers bore a positive energy that served him well in destroying the darker inclined. Any negative Discipline faced quite a struggle when encountering Zeus.

    This was precisely the opposite for Thunderbolt, though. His was purely negative. Simply put, it was diametrically opposed to Lan Jue's. It was something he'd heard from his teacher many years before was possible, and he'd since sought to see it for himself. 1

    Positive and Negative working in harmonious union. A true and complete electric payload! That was what that gold and silver beam was.

    Lan Jue employed a special method for using his powers. He used the positive force of his lightning to contain and command the negative force of his thunderbolt Discipline. The result was a ying-yang conglomeration of the two, manifesting as a beam of energy. Even though the attack wasn't itself classified as a protogenic power, it was stronger than many of them. The violent and definitive destruction of his enemies in the last fight gave credence to the claim.

    It was an understatement to call viewing such a special circumstance today a 'pleasant surprise.' Thunderclap! No matter the result, Lan Jue was resolved to confront him at the end of their competition. Were the two of them to combine forces, they'd be powerful enough to rival Paragons!

    He remembered the lesson of his professor from so long ago. If you met the opposed aspect of your Discipline, he said, don't let them go. If they were of the opposite sex, marry them. Otherwise make them your best friend.

    Lan Jue had completely forgotten about it until this second. The possibility had seemed so slim back in the day that he hadn't considered it. He never would have expected to be confronted by that infinitesimal chance here.

    Thunderclap, he surmised, must not have been familiar with the mysteries of yin yang, or may have otherwise forgotten. As a yin-prominent Discipline, he also would never likely be in a dominant enough position to seek one out.

    The question then became how to persuade him. He had to find an excuse to meet with him after the matches, first. If Thunderclap was a denizen of the East, there'd be no better circumstance he could hope for.

    "Careful." Hua Li's voice brought him back to the present.

    Lan Jue's eyes were stabbed by a flash of dazzling light.


    Thor's spear appeared in its grip, almost like it had a mind of its own. In the next moment, dozens of lightning-fast spear strikes filled the space before it. The stress and difficulty of the situation was a boon for Lan Jue, and he felt in better shape than ever before. One thousand and eighty spear strikes passed in the blink of an eye.

    The starry shield surrounding the Starblade couldn't stand against Thor's rapid-fire assault, and shattered. Under Zeus' impressive martial assault, Starlord's forward charge was shut down.

    1. Chinese Yin-Yang Theory underpins a great deal of what the Chinese do. At its heart, it's a simple idea of positive and negative, though neither have the same connotation we expect in the West. Neither is inherently good or inherently evil, they just are. Further, there are several aspects of the yin-yang relationship that make things more complicated, but expand the theory to involve all life as we know it. Those are a.) the opposition of yin and yang - each one controls the other to ensure there is balance, and not excess of one or the other. b.) interdependence - each one requires the presence of the other to exist; yang requires yin as a root so it won't float away, and yin requires yang to ensure it remains motile and doesn't sink c.) interchangeability - yin and yang can transform in to on another when there is too much of an excess, to maintain balance and d.) interconsumption - the relative levels of the two forces are ever in flux as they strive for balance,  a little bit of the one exists in the other.
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