Chapter 290: The Clairvoyant’s Confidence

    Chapter 290: The Clairvoyant's Confidence

    "I was in decent shape at that time, which was good since I expended a great deal of energy in completing the reading. I had worked desperately in hopes of finding out more, perhaps a way we could avoid encounter this terrible premonition. But what I found, was nothing. If that sense of destruction should fall over humanity, there was more than an eighty-percent chance it would spell the end of our species. As for that twenty percent, that was the chance that ten percent us would somehow survive. It meant extinction would be delayed, but not stopped."

    Lan Qing, Chu Cheng, Hua Li and Lan Jue simply listened in pensive silence as the Clairvoyant told his tale.

    Had this come from anyone elses mouth, the Monarchs would have dismissed them as doomsayers beneath attention. But this was the Clairvoyant. The Eye of the Future! They wouldn't dare question this great sage of humanity.

    An oppressive sense hung over the gathered pilots. Like their team leader, the Seamstress, Bartender, Coffee Master and Driver bore similarly solemn expressions. It was likely the first time they heard these dark omens as well.

    "As time went on I would continue to search time for an answer, so long as my body was capable. In my time here I've seen that there is an element of predestination in everything. And yet, under specific circumstances with specific factors involved, variables exist to change our fate. In the universe we live in, there are no pure stalemates. So I dedicated the remainder of my life searching for the light in the darkness. Vitality in the stillness of death."

    "Prophesy after prophecy, my hopelessness grew. My body weakened with each effort. Although I used every technique I'd learned to extend my life, a man's life is ultimately finite. Even Paragons are slaves to the rules of nature. Three years ago I first began to feel my vital energies exhausting. I see the future, and I knew in this moment that there was nothing more I could do."

    "And just when I was preparing to resign myself to the painful fact of our end, you appeared!" The Clairvoyant's startling starry eyes fell unto Lan Jue. Their depths stared at him, through him, as though there was nothing the Jewelry Master could hide.

    "Me?" Lan Jue blinked, confused.

    The Clairvoyant offered a slight nod. "Yes, you - Zeus, Jewelry Master of Skyfire Avenue. The day you came to us I felt something, a strange disturbance. Suddenly things got more complicated."

    Lan Jue's mouth curled in to a scowl. He rather felt like he'd been dropped in a pile of **.

    The Clairvoyant then shook his head, and with a laugh said "Not a pile of **. More like... a mire."

    Lan Jue stared at the Clairvoyant, mouth agape/ He can read my mind? He thought.

    The old man went on. "Later I did several readings regarding you specifically. Finally there was that light I sought. Clear, and strong, but my final reading brought it in to focus. I saw the fire of life burning, fighting against the encroaching darkness and clearing the darkness from my sight. I could see it all. The opportunity to survive lay squarely on you young men and your generation. It is you, and the men at your side, that must carry the torch in to the shadow. So before I pass on the mantle entirely, there are some things I wish to impart. In three months come by the Museum. My successor will deliver them."

    Lan Qing's quiet voice interjected. "Your Majesty. Have your visions revealed what we have to do?"

    The Clairvoyant shook his head. "The tides of fate will guide you. How to proceed, I cannot say. Stay true to yourselves as you traverse the path, and have faith that the proper way will be illuminated when needed. Keep up the fight, no matter what."

    The old man smiled to ease some of the harsh bite of his words. "Very well, I've said what I had to say. I'm afraid I must trouble you all to come together in three months time to the museum. There, someone will deliver the items I spoke of. Jewelry Master, if I might have a word with you in private?"

    "Alright," the younger man responded.

    With a wave of his gnarled hand, the Clairvoyant called upon his powers to envelope both of them in twinkling starlight. No one outside of the beam would be able to hear their exchange.

    "Skyfire Avenue is the result of my blood, sweat and tears," the Clairvoyant began. "It was my hope from the very beginning, that through my efforts I could help the human race improve, and grow stronger. So that we could face whatever lurked in the depths of the universe. As I leave, my Avenue is entrusted unto you, the youth of today. Now I've already spoken with the Wine Master and the Keeper. I would like to elect you, as Chairman of the Skyfire Avenue Council."

    "Me?" Lan Jue stared at him, dumbfounded. "Your Majesty, why me? I'm not strong enough-"

    The Clairvoyant cut him off with a wave. "Power isn't everything. This is something the last Eye of the Future told me. When you came to us, beneath all the pain and anger, I saw vitality. You had experienced hardships, and you would again. The only thing you lacked, as far as I concerned, was the power to hold the position. Trust that you will one day rise to the heights I know you're capable of. Remember that setbacks are transient, and pain does pass."

    :I am not just entrusting you with Skyfire Avenue. I place the fate of humanity on your shoulders. Don't bother asking, because I haven't seen what choices you will make, or what you should do. All I can tell you is this: Man's future, his hopes, his ability to survive the coming cataclysm, even the beasts who bring the reckoning... all of it is closely linked to you. Your life no longer belongs just to you. Nor will you assume the title of Chairman now. But once you are ready, and I'm sure you will be, the responsibility will fall to you."

    "But responsibilities are not easy. In contrast to the others, I must leave you with a task. The Wine Master will help you see it through."

    "I'm ready," Lan Jue replied without hesitation or inquiry. Peering in to the Clairvoyant's clear, deep eyes, he just knew it was something that needed doing.

    His mind inadvertently wandered to the young soldier he'd met on Taihua. His words rang in his ears: Our obligation is the safety of the public. Now the situation arose again, but instead of a young soldier, it was an old one. Surely the message was the same.

    It was not a duty to be taken lightly, but looking at this old man who had dedicated his life to the betterment of his species, a fire grew in his heart. He felt his blood - hot and anxious - coursing through his veins.

    "Unless I'm mistaken, Jue Di was your teacher." The old man said.

    Lan Jue blinked. "How'd you-"

    The Clairvoyant smiled. "Originally I had no idea. But watching you today reminded me of the man. You fight like him, and in fact that palm attack of yours is an old technique from ancient times he liked to employ. I can see you have cultivated essence, but only he can point you on the right path to improvement from here. When you've reached the heights of ninth rank, seek him out."

    Jue Di, first among the Paragons. No one knew his whereabouts, only that he was an Easterner. The real power of the Alliance.

    This was, in part, why the East was considered above the West and North when considering Adept power. It was also why the West and North were in a tentative alliance to undermine the East.

    The great master left no trace of his whereabouts. But he was around, that was certain.

    About twenty years ago, the North mobilized its armies for a large incursion on Eastern territory. That was the last time Jue Di made his presence known.

    The results of that  battle were - according to the North - confidential. No one was entirely aware of what really occurred. All that was certain, was that the North turned tail and fled as quickly as they could, and they haven't made any overt signs of hostility towards the East since.

    Even among Paragons, Jue Di was a legend. Not even his compatriots knew precisely how powerful he really was.

    Lan Jue quietly nodded his head in agreement.

    The Clairvoyant's eyes were alive with starlight. "Since you're one of his disciples, you should know that there are more than just we ten Paragons in the world of man.  My task for you is to seek them out. If possible, gather them together. We will need their strength in the twilight of humanity's existence."

    Lan Jue felt his heart skip a beat. Of course there were more than just ten Paragons. There had to be more hidden in every corner where man has tread.

    He still remembered something his father once said. He was not the strongest of all humans, just strong. The Clairvoyant said something similar now. A strange feeling began to well up inside of him - the fighting spirit! The courage of a warrior!

    The Clairvoyant spoke again. "The Wine Master has some clues that can be used to help direct you to him. You should go with him. Remember, though, that we don't have much time. You must use this opportunity to grow stronger and gather our forces."

    "Yes," Lan Jue affirmed.

    With a wave of his hand, the Clairvoyant dismissed the column of light separating them from the others.

    The elderly master's eyes flit to the Coffee Master, Seamstress, Bartender and Driver. "Each of you are outstanding members of the new generation, masters of mecha piloting. I may have set up the Star Alliance, but now it is your responsibility to continue it. You are also members of our Avenue. Jewelry Master, in the future I hope you end up leading this Star Alliance in my place. It's time for Skyfire Avenue to organize."

    Lan Jue looked toward the other four members of the Clairvoyant's coterie, and nodded. The Driver met his gaze with a wry smile and, shaking his fist in determination, nodded in agreement.

    "Alright, I swear it!" Lan Jue's words were solemn, and serious as he made his promise to the soothsayer.
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