Chapter 436: Conciliation of Yin and Yang

    Chapter 436: Conciliation of Yin and Yang

    The Driver had never felt this sensation before. He could feel every minute shift in his body. As if in response, his Discipline flared even more vibrantly. There it was again; that strange, elusive sensation he'd faintly perceived months ago. It was elating, to feel himself come to grips with something that had tormented him - something intractable.

    Lan Jue was also attentive, but his focus was the integration of the two energies with his Taiji manipulation. The subtle but powerful attraction of the yin-yang energies were strong enough to bring the thunderbolt Disciplines in line. The longer this was maintained, the closer the two opposing but similar powers became. His control was much improved over the last few weeks, both from his prolific use in the West, but also his empowered Discipline. He analyzed every shift to deepen his understanding, and he was beginning to grasp its secrets.

    When the two pure forms of their thunderbolt Disciplines clashed, it was just as the Driver has said; a mountain is only big enough for one tiger. However, when the unifying powers of Taiji were added, it fully activated their yin-yang aspects. In the Spiraling Taiji power they joined, to spectacular results. Even these small demonstrations of their Discipline were capable of generating great blasts of light when they met. The flashes were a myriad of colors, and it felt as chaotic as it did innocent. The energy flooding the room surged to a new level.

    Their dual powers were forced closer and closer, condensing until it took up the space of acorn - a third of when they started. But despite its lack-luster appearance, Lan Jue was nervous. It was even more worrisome when he discovered it more difficult to differentiate the changes. At ninth level ninth rank, it was quite frightening to encounter an energy he couldn't understand.

    With careful guidance, Lan Jue guided the powers toward himself. He knew immediately that if he consumed these powers in to himself it would be of tremendous value, and so he carefully sought to use himself as a conduit. However it was dangerous, for even as he did so the power increased. The stronger it got, the more frightening the dangers of a misstep. He began by simply interacting with it, feeling it, before he dared take it in.


    Boom-! There was an explosive rush, and a thunderous crack. Lan Jue was thrust against the far wall like he'd been struck with an artillery round. He struck so hard cracks slithered through the plaster. The whole room looked like the aftermath of a tornado. The furniture was smashed, and the Driver had also been flung against the wall. Thankfully, he'd only suffered the blow-back from Lan Jue's encounter. If not for Lan Jue's forethought in shielding the room, the blast would probably have taken out half the floor.

    The shields were not enough to stop the building from shaking, though, or the shuddering blast. As they were recovering, a cadre of hotel security were rushing for Lan Jue's room. He couldn't wait - the moment he came to his senses, he leapt from the room to the gardens below.

    Burnt almost black, he lay smoldering against the cool grass. No rushing it! He panted and groaned, and it felt like every bone in his body hurt.

    Protogenia... no doubt about it. Lan Jue bitterly mused.

    He'd done all he could at this point. Anything further was far too frightening to attempt again - not until they could make certain the correct path.

    However it was not a total failure. In the moment before the explosion, he felt as though he were on to something. There was a resonance between his power and that explosion. Although it had been slight, he had trained himself to recognize these small changes.

    To say the blast had hurt would be an understatement. Thankfully he had been joined with Qianlin at the time. In the instant the blast was released, he was filled with a protective warmth. It had spared him from any real damage - just residual pain and some bruising.

    He couldn't stay hidden forever, and eventually Lan Jue was found. However it was the Gourmet, not security, who caught up with him first. It wasn't any surprise, since the entire Skyfire delegation had been staying at the same hotel.

    The matter was eventually settled by the Avenue Paragon. Lan Jue would be responsible for all repairs, and the Gourmet would work to ensure things remained quiet. The Hotel would receive remuneration immediately and they would promise not to cause any more trouble. Another offense and they would be removed from the hotel.

    They were given another room, and then finally Lan Jue and the Driver had a minute to take in what had happened. The two burned and stricken men looked at each other.

    "What the hell were you doing?" The Driver's clothes were in tatters, but he was still better off than the charbroiled Lan Jue.

    The Jewelry Master coughed. "I just wanted to see what would happen. I was curious to see if we could use our combined Disciplines to help with the cultivation. But then..."

    The Driver rolled his eyes so hard they threatened to pop from his head. "Are you a moron? You never learned how to cultivate? When the yin and yang energies of thunderbolt Disciplines join it's almost at protogenic levels. What made you think we're capable of handling anything like that at our ranks? I'm pretty damn sure you're psychopathic."

    "Heh... I mean, no harm in trying? And it wasn't all bad." Lan Jue offered helplessly.

    "I had it, after so long - and then you blew the room up. Joining our Disciplines to cultivate is already incredibly beneficial, what more could you want? Curiosity killed the cat."

    A sheepish grin was plastered on the Jewelry Master's face. "Alright, I mean I wanted to tell you about what I discovered in the explosion. But, I guess if you're upset then I don't have to. We can just focus on the incredibly beneficial unification of our Disciplines."

    The Driver gave him a dark look.

    "Why are you eyeing me like that?" He sounded anxious.

    Suddenly his friend changed tack, as suddenly as the breeze. "I'm sorry, my friend."

    "Hack-Kha! Hchcha!" Lan Jue choked on a mouthful of spit. He certainly wouldn't have expected the gruff and aloof Driver to suddenly become so earnest!

    "Hahahahaha!" The Driver burst in to a fit of booming laughter.

    It began to dawn on the mercenary king that perhaps he'd been taken in. "You're looking for an ass-kicking." Lan Jue half-heartedly threatened.

    "You just blew me up, you deserve it," the Driver countered. "Now we're even. So stop stalling and tell me, what did you find?"

    "It's hard to say," Lan Jue confessed. "The blast had some sort of effect on my Core. There was something there, an influence on the energy throughout my entire body. It felt like an evolution, an enlightenment."

    The Driver's expression became thoughtful. "So that would mean that when our powers joined, they were capable of perpetual increase. That is the influence of protogenia, and if that's the case then there is much we can learn from this."

    Lan Jue gave him a flat look. "Didn't you just say we shouldn't try it?"

    A shrug answered his question. "Why not? The blast didn't kill or maim you did it?"

    Lan Jue chortled. "As much as I'd enjoy watching you burnt to a crisp, I have to warn you that I only survived because my Discipline is at its peak. I also have the benefit of internal protections that blocked most of the explosion's power. I can't promise you won't get hurt. If we do continue, you have to take that in to account."

    "We should wait," the Driver conceded. "We're in the North after all, so perhaps it would be best to proceed when we return to the Avenue. The Wine Master may be able to lend us a pocket dimension in his Reaper Arena that would be suitable. Comprehending the secrets of protogenia doesn't happen overnight anyway. For now it's enough to feel their combination. We can save whatever piece of the puzzle the explosion holds for later."

    This earned an uncertain shrug from Lan Jue. "Subjecting ourselves to that abuse may not be the best course of action."

    The Driver gave him a challenging sniff. "It's a chance Adepts would kill to have. Don't keep the knowledge all for yourself. How can you still doubt? We should find a name, too... we can't keep saying 'the unification of yin and yang thunderbolt elemental Discipline lightning.' It's a bit of a mouthful."

    Lan Jue thought for a moment. "Purebolt. What do you think?"

    The Driver answered with a nod. "Catchy. Purebolt it is. So tell me honestly, how much do you think you can control it?"

    The mercenary king spread his hands. "How should I know? I didn't even get to try. We're talking about protogenia, if we could control it then we would have the power of a Paragon. Don't you remember how strong the result was during the God battles.

    "It looks like we still have a long road to tread." The Driver nodded. "Let's get on with it then. Right now it's just sensing, no more fireworks. Otherwise we're going to run out of places to sleep."

    Lan Jue laughed. "The only thing in danger of being exploded is you. Let's go!"

    The conditions were replicated. The Taiji energies brought Lan Jue and Driver's Disciplines in to itself and joined them. As they watched they came to understand Purebolt as the true form of lightning, uninhibited by limitations of yin or yang. They made sure to carefully restrict how much energy they put in.

    It was a busy day for all challengers in the quarter-finals. Some were lost in meditation, others were studying opponents. Every one of them had their own methods of preparation, but the one thing they all wished for was time.

    The quarter-finals of the Great Adept tournament, where the future of the Adept world was on display, was underway.

    By early morning all of the arena's seats were occupied. Members of the galaxy's great organizations of government officials crowded the VIP viewing platform. There was also a new face among them.

    A new, gorgeous face.
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