Chapter 441: Supreme Yang Lightning

    Chapter 441: Supreme Yang Lightning

    The collision of these two beams produced a golden explosion that rivaled Luo City on the brightest day. The whole of the Great Conclave Arena was lost in the glare, while beneath the force shields, the entire battlefield was buffeted by waves of power. Blue and gold intermingled, though it looked like as though the gold had begun to devour everything else.

    Then there was another flash, followed by a blast.


    Bing Yu had her spear defiantly thrust toward Lan Jue, but the exchange forced her from the air back down to ground. The area around her flickered with golden light. Surprise flit through her expression. She had felt something, a mysterious and indefinable buzz that filled her. A residual heat surrounding the area, but it wasn't from outside. The heat was coming from her. One of the benefits of lightning Disciplines were their osmotic and explosive capabilities. The purer the power, the more effective and damaging the strike.

    Boom-boom-boom-boom! One after another, bolts of lightning thicker than a person came crashing toward Bing Yu. The spear in her hand flashed and whipped, deflecting them as they came.

    Nine in total, and none had landed. Lan Jue appeared again before the eyes of the public.

    Bing Yu lifted her head to look at him. Though none of Zeus' strikes had found their target, she was nonetheless surrounded by a visible corona of electric energy.

    "The strength of Zeus' attacks are weaker than Bing Yu's, clearly due to their difference in rank. However, Bing Yu appears to have lost the advantage. Why is the effort so strenuous for her?" Mo Xiao was genuinely curious about what she was watching.

    The Terminator's dispassionate voice answered. "Vigorous, prosperous, positive; the Nine Supreme Yang Thunderbolts. Lightning and Thunderbolt are natural elements that can also be separated in to yin and yang like anything. The yang aspect is hard, while yin nature is soft. Although this masked youth is not of a high rank, he has a very good grasp of his abilities and their attributes. It reduces the power gap between him and Absolute Zero. There are no weaklings in the quarter-finals, remember."

    The Terminator was right; that had been Lan Jue's Nine Supreme Yang Thunderbolt attack. It was also true that, despite his rank two abilities, the combination of his experience, his two Disciplines and spiritual understanding have made the difference less stark. Bing Yu had been able to block the blast force of his attacks, but wasn't able to stop lightning's permeating nature. Those nine lightning bolts had still taken their toll.

    Crack! Bing Yu's spear shattered in to a hundred million pieces, right in her hands. Sparking slivers of lightning were discharged when it did. But Bing Yu was not idle. A white light began to grow, centered on her chest until it swallowed her up and made her entirely translucent. She looked like she was made of the same stuff she commanded, ice.

    Temperatures on the battlefield kept falling. On-screen thermometers were flashing negative one hundred and fifty. It was a stabbing, tearing cold. Lan Jue felt like even his meridians were beginning to solidify.

    Bing Yu took a threatening step forward. The radiating corona of her power appeared and disappeared at random intervals, while she herself was an inexplicable opaque white from head to toe. The entire battlefield shivered when her foot touched the ground, which was then followed by a blinding light that erupted from below her. It spread until it consumed the whole field, covering every corner. The battlefield was lost in a sea of impenetrable white.

    It was an unnatural cold that assailed Lan Jue, even worse than before. He could feel the power being sapped from him by the second. He felt like everything around him was locked in an enormous block of ice, himself included.

    Overhead, the Terminator's eyes glimmered. "The true essence of ice... interesting."

    Mo Xiao gave him a sideways glance, then engaged. "Your Majesty, I've been wondering. How strong would an Adept like Bing Yu need to be in order to bring the field all the way down to true, absolute zero? 1."

    "Difficult to answer," came the Paragon's response. "To reach a certain level and to master it are very different. Setting aside brief spells of success, she would need to be an established Paragon before she could achieve absolute zero for long periods, and consistently. As far as I know there has never been a Paragon with her powers, which makes answering your question difficult."

    Mo Xiao, her face displaying regret, turned back to the fight. "It looks like Zeus is going to lose."

    Down on the field, that opaque white hue had paled, becoming translucent. The occasional flash of lightning from within was clearly much weaker than it had been. Zeus himself was frozen solid.

    Bing Yu did not use this opportunity to launch an attack, but instead remained locked in place in the 'air.' Her faceted figure glimmered like a gem, even as the temperature continued to fall to negative one hundred and eighty degrees.

    The battlefield was a frozen hellscape. At this degree of cold, it appeared even Bing Yu was beginning to struggle. If she could, wouldn't she be moving in for the kill? Still, it was clear she had taken the upper hand. Only the areas directly beside Zeus were still affected by the lightning, and even that was growing weaker by the moment. It was an indication of his failing shields, and if that lightning went out it would mean he'd been completely frozen. The match would be lost.

    Swaths of white color slithered through the ice. Lan Jue was their target, and they moved toward him with a predatory air. This was pure elemental essence, one of Bing Yu's greatest advantages.

    Every elemental Adept sought to find the true nature of their gift. It was practice for immersing oneself in protogenia; an Adapt who had practice in uncovering the underlying essence of their element was better equipped for progress later. The breakthrough to Paragon was similar.

    The cold was slithering passed Lan Jue's protections. He could feel it invade him like a cancer, while his Lightning defenses failed. Even the blood in his veins was slowing down. His heartbeat slowed. His Core was under duress, pressed down tight. The force of his Discipline was dedicated solely to stop himself from being crushed, but his mind was beginning to grow sluggish. The cold was invading his soul.

    What awful, pure power!

    There was no doubt that Lan Jue was under pressure. His mask and bearing hid his thoughts from view, but inside his heart was as smooth as a lake surface. There was no fear, no anxiety - he focused on the cold, and how it interacted with his body. He immersed himself in it, and at least to him it was marvelous. Lan Jue's body and mind was focused on the present.

    The Pharmacist had told him that re-cultivation was a purification process. Like watching a TV show for the second time, you can see and understand a great deal more. After his joining with Qianlin, his Core was smaller and his power weaker. However, Lan Jue could sense the purity in his Discipline, and his increased control.

    Thunderbolt had rules. Like everything else, it was also an aspect of protogenia. He was beginning to understand. Pressure from the outside world had a constraining effect on his lightning, but the result made him better able to recognize details since they were happening slower. It was another piece of the puzzle. Lightning didn't have an inherent shape. But that didn't mean it wasn't bound by its own rules. Around his core, tendrils of lightning danced all around but had slowed from the extreme temperatures.

    Under Lan Jue's ministrations, his core was glowing a brilliant gold. Pure and vibrant, his Core seemed to continue drawing in on itself. Condensing one's Core wasn't something most Adepts were eager to try. It could crack, or collapse. Either were unspeakable tragedies.

    Lan Jue's Discipline was also strong, explosive, and difficult to precisely control. That made the risks even greater. If the Driver knew what was going on, he'd probably be grinning from ear to ear. This wasn't much different than attempting suicide.

    But this was another benefit of re-cultivation. Mind and experiences weren't lost when his Discipline was. Alas, the struggle made him better! After the Silkworm ability and the Mystic Raiment, he was better than new.

    The compression continued. And the further his Core was pressed, the more pressure his Discipline was under.

    Cores were limited by the space they inhabited. The constraints of the human body were a hard cap on their volume. This was why purity and condensing practices were so important, because they were the only path forward. At ninth rank, an Adept's Core was at its peak volume. From there, the goal was to increase density to improve energy volume.

    Condensing a Core, shrinking it, was like extending its growth period, while re-cultivated Discipline was denser by nature. It was a dream for any Adept to have a second growth spurt.

    As for Paragons, a very important change undergoes their Cores during ascension. With each advance in solidifying their knowledge of protogenia, their Cores were polished until at last they broke through. After that, it could not be said that a Paragon was truly human any longer. They were half human only, and half a being of energy. For those like Lan Jue with an elemental Discipline, it meant that they were inseparable from it. He would be lightning, and lightning would be him.

    With the Pharmacist's guidance, Lan Jue had come to understand the benefits of all this. He no longer lamented the loss of his former power. He was thankful to have been so blessed.

    The last few days, he had relied on strength of will to succeed. He would purify his Discipline, and he would purify his Core.

    1. Absolutely zero is defined as -273.15 Celsius / -459.67 Fahrenheit. They use Celsius in the story.
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