Chapter 409: Extreme Focus

    Chapter 409: Extreme Focus

    Jun'er was as much a part of the Avenue as any councilor. The Clairvoyant had founded the organization, so it was an undisputed fact that diviners were a hot commodity there.

    The strong were rarely awash with friends, but the Avenue was in a particularly sour state. Though they had their five Paragons, they knew that things would get much more difficult for them once the Clairvoyant passed.

    That's why it was so important to get her back. For someone with powers similar to the Clairvoyant's - maybe even stronger than the Clairvoyant's - was phenomenal, especially now. In twenty years, those powers would develop to great heights within Jun'er. If they were lucky enough to have the Clairvoyant train her, then it was almost assured the Avenue would have another Clairvoyant leading them in to the future. More than that, she would lead humanity in to prosperity.

    "No wonder the Terminator's face looked so strange. That's why you were holding Jun'er yourself." The Pharmacist's own face changed as understanding of the gravity dawned on her. She had never thought something like this would happen, and it took her entirely by surprise. She desperately wised Jun'er's awakening had happened on Skyfire where it was safe. Right now they were surrounded by foreign Adepts with aspirations of their own. If word of the little one's powers got out, the journey home would be fraught with lethal dangers.

    Lan Jue's first reaction was to get on his communicator. The Gourmet was punching a number in to his own at the same time.

    "Mika," Lan Jue said to his wrist, "get the girls and take Zeus-1 to Luo City, as fast as you can go." Lan Jue had first wanted to have Xiuxiu accompany the Gourmet to the tournament, but later changed his mind. Qianlin's presence and their ability to meld meant he didn't need her. Now he was calling all of his Amazons, an act which showed just how grave he saw this situation.

    "Wine Master." The Gourmet spoke in another corner, huddled over his communicator. "We've run in to a situation. Don't worry, it's a good thing. Find a way to let the Clairvoyant know that Jun'er divination Disciplines have awakened. It would be best if you told him yourself. The trouble is that out here, I'm not sure I could protect her adequately."

    The other side of the line was silent for what felt like a full minute. After a time the Cosmagus' voice answered. "Alright, as fast as I can. Do not leave Luo if you can help it. Anyone who means you ill is far less likely to act under Conclave and government supervision. Wait for me to get there, then we'll figure out what to do. Participate in the tournament as normal but protect that little girl with your life. I'll go tell the Clairvoyant now."

    "Very good." The Gourmet cut the connection.

    A tense atmosphere hung over the room. Jun'er, the focus of this storm, sat upon the couch with a small smile.

    The Gourmet then went to her and kneeled. "How do you feel, Jun'er? Do you feel like you're safe?" Behind the words was a deeper question. The Gourmet knew that diviners were keener than anyone, and their read on a situation was invaluable especially when it concerned themselves. And although Jun'er was only five, this was not a hindrance - in fact, it may be helpful. Visions were never common sense, they came as feelings or ideas. A child was more connected to this, and at a time when their latent energies were richest it made these sensations clearer.

    Jun'er's pretty face beamed at her uncle. "Of course I'm safe, uncle. Mommy and daddy are here. They'll get me home."

    Her genuine words brought a smile to the somber old man's face. "You're a good girl. We'll all go home together in a few days when the tournament is over."

    "Thanks uncle Gourmet!" Jun'er tittered sweetly.

    The Pharmacist took up her daughter and hugged her tight. A light flashed through her eyes but it wasn't fear. It was a dark, dangerous light.

    "At least the Terminator didn't seem keen on doing anything," the Gourmet offered. "Right now he's the only one outside of us here who knows. Metatron and Lucifer suspect something's going on, but they don't know what. All we have to do is keep up appearances until the tournament is over. Then the Wine Master will come."

    Lan Jue quietly replied. "But we can't afford to let down our defenses, even for a moment. This concerns the fate of all Adepts, so I'm sure the Terminator will discuss it with his people, even if he doesn't share the news with outsiders. Eventually that information is going to get out. We have to remain cautious and vigilant."

    The Infernal Vanguard nodded. "I'll keep a tracer of Jun'er. If anything should happen, I could be there in an instant. It might be uncomfortable, but I need you to move her in with the Barber and Beautician. You can look after her together."

    "I don't want to do that," Jun'er complained from the couch. "I want to stay with mommy and daddy!"

    The Gourmet looked from the little girl to her parents. Both of their faces had begun to turn red.

    "It's ok sweetie, you don't need to worry. I'll be right here to protect you. I'll just forfeit the tournament and stay back to look after her, it's fine."

    "That won't work," the Gourmet said with a wave of his hand. "For us, our strength is front and center in minds of the galaxy's Adepts. We have to keep up appearances. You, though, can get in the dark places with your face hidden. With me Jun'er will be safe, unless the Terminator and the Cosmagus come in to conflict. The crotchety old man was right, we just have to stay here and ride it out. No one would day openly accost us here. No battleships, no angry Paragons, and nothing to worry about. Even if the Pontiff and Satan hear about it, they won't have time to react. News needs time to spread and the Wine Master is already on his way."

    Lan Jue nodded thoughtfully. "It sounds good. Should we bring Jun'er to the tournament tomorrow?"

    The older man nodded. "We can't show them anything's wrong. I'll look after her, and the Terminator would never let a little girl get hurt. The arena is the safest place to be right now."

    Lan Jue looked at the Pharmacist, and she nodded her approval. With their conference concluded, Lan Jue lead the Pharmacist and Jun'er back to their room.

    "Mommy... daddy... am I causing trouble?" Jun'er quietly asked.

    Seated on their hotel room's couch, Lan Jue gave the little girl a sad smile pulled her up on to his knee. "That's impossible. Jun'er is the best little girl in the whole universe. You're the opposite of trouble little one. One day you're going to do great things. You'll be even greater than your mommy and daddy!"

    She tittered and wriggled on his knee. "Then I'll be able to take care of you and mommy, right?"

    He nodded emphatically in response. "That's right! You don't need to worry about anything at all, sweet heart. Mommy and daddy will protect you. We'd never let anything bad happen to you. The only way they're getting to you is over our dead bodies."

    His tone was soft, soothing, but what Jun'e couldn't see in his eyes was clear as day to the Pharmacist. He wasn't just talking, this was a solemn promise. It was only there for a second, but it definitely left an impression. A moment later his eyes were warm and comforting.

    "Alright, we'll that's enough of that. You don't need to worry either. With so many of us here even the Western military wouldn't dare." The Pharmacist's estimations were calm, something which impressed Lan Jue.

    "So should we talk about your thing?" She asked.

    "My thing?" Lan Jue asked. He suddenly remembered, though, that she'd asked about his loss of power before.

    "It's nothing," he assured her. "A strange and very rare ability reduced by Discipline to the first rank. I've already started to climb back to where I was. Guessing by the trend so far, I should be back to normal in a year."

    The Pharmacist's hand shot out o feel his pulse without a word. Lan Jue did not react or pull away because he trusted her, and Jun'er was still on his knee.

    Her hands were strong, and coursed with power. With the slightest pinch to his wrist to read his pulse, his whole body began to feel numb. The strangely sharp powers of the Pharmacist entered him through her fingertips, and spread everywhere until no aspect of his health was hidden from her.

    After about a minute she left his hand go. Her brows were scrunched in consideration. "I didn't feel anything out of the ordinary. Your  blood and qi are exuberant, better than an ordinary man's... in fact better than most seventh ranks. Your meridians are flexible and healthy, and your Discipline is vibrant. It reveals an exceptionally strong foundation. All this being the case, how in the world could your Discipline have collapsed so dramatically? Did you do it on purpose to redo your cultivation?"

    "Redo cultivation?" Lan Jue was curious. "Are there really adepts who choose to do that?"

    She answered with a nod. "It's rare, but not unheard of. Some Adepts feel that their Discipline may grow too fast. It becomes difficult to control and influences their abilities. It's a secret art that only those who trained in the styles of ancient China possess, someone like me. It's usually of great benefit for those who are finding it hard to break through the bottleneck. This gives them one chance to stabilize their protogenic realm enough to break through to pull Paragon status."

    "But from what I can remember form your earlier displays, you didn't need it! Your Discipline was stable, clearly carefully trained. Your Talent is powerful, and better still there are two aspects. You even have an idea of protogenia with your Ascension. You were practically a golden child. You already had a sixty or seventy percent chance of success. You have more Talent than anyone I've ever met. To go back and do it again when you're already so far ahead makes no sense, it's almost crazy. But I guess I admire your nerve."
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