Chapter 442: Compress the Core!

    Chapter 442: Compress the Core!

    He felt like he was succeeding. His ninth level, second rank Core wasn't overly difficult to compress. He had the experience and control of a ninth rank Adept, so this was easier. He was also benefiting from Zhou Qianlin's tenacity, something which he could access after their unnatural union. It settled over his Core and made it stronger. The likelihood of his Core collapsing from the strain was remote.

    Of course, as he did so it was for Qianlin - any changes to his own Core were reflected in hers. The young Adept, it could be said, was undergoing her own re-cultivation process. The only difference was, that her discipline didn't have the same explosive power that his did.

    In the battle now, he could feel the struggle between Bing Yu's essence of cold, and Qianlin's Queen of Heaven powers. The Queen of Heaven transformation served to empower one's Core, and allowed both he and Qianlin to share control. But although Bing Yu's powers were different, there was still a benefit. The chaotic nature of his Discipline was constrained, and its erratic behavior soothed by the cold. Since Lan Jue's unification with Qianlin had also granted him higher degrees of control, he was having no trouble commanding his abilities masterfully.

    How could Lan Jue pass up such an incredible opportunity? The pressure was a great catalyst for his hidden potential. He continued to allow himself to be pressed.

    Through their telepathic link, Qianlin's power had been part of him since the beginning, making his Discipline more controlled and flexible. Lan Jue feared no circumstance, for whatever he experienced Qianlin would sense as well. With her Queen of Heaven powers, there was no danger he couldn't overcome here.

    Bing Yu, of course, didn't suspect she was actually helping her foe. She could see the electricity around his frost-covered body dimming.

    "Your Majesty... should you call the fight?" Mo Xiao cast a nervous sideways glance toward the Terminator.

    He shook his head. "It isn't finished yet. The masked man has options yet, and he hasn't used up any tricks. He's got something in mind - let's watch carefully."

    A full minute stretched like this, Lan Jue unable to move a muscle. However, he was not idle. As he compressed his Core, he immersed himself in the sensations and secrets of pure elemental ice. It was fascinating to watch the effects.

    Bing Yu had never considered the fact that Lan Jue might have a deeper elemental understanding than she did. Protogenia was out of the question.

    The secrets of lightning's essence were rooted in righteous qi of the universe 1. Righteous qi followed the path of the universe, and so those who bore a Discipline like lightning were almost physically unable to go against what was just and good. An Adept who went against the grain of his Discipline, found themselves very quickly weakening. This was one reason why the Clairvoyant elected to have Lan Jue join not just the Avenue, but the council as well. His Discipline was proof that Lan Jue could not be a bad man.

    What about protogenic thunderbolt and lightning? Where the essence of lightning was a reflection of righteous and correct action, their protogenic reflection was less refined. As Lan Jue understood, it was judgment! Universal Judgement against all that was evil and vile. That was what protogenia meant for thunderbolt and lightning.

    A golden light started to radiate from the center of Lan Jue's chest. As it expanded, the lightning from around him was swallowed up and vanished until every inch of him was covered.

    This fight was a battle of comprehension. Both were aware of the essence of their gift, so it would come down to a contest of their attributes. Clearly, Lan Jue was not a match for Bing Yu rank for rank. However her mistake was using her own powers to try and contain his. Lan Jue was gifted with two Disciplines and had some notion of protogenia. Bing Yu was fated to lose.


    Chu Cheng watched from the stadium seats like the other guests. As the essence of ice froze the ring solid, his lips curled in to a sour grin. He shook his head. "This lucky bastard."

    The bundle of clothes that was Hua Li nodded knowingly.


    There was a flash of gold, then Lan Jue was gone. Half a breath later, a streak of light was heading right for the jade-like statue the essence was emanating from. It struck, and coiled around the form causing the pockets of essence to fall away and dissipate. When he reappeared, Lan Jue was still blanketed in that golden light. He looked like a holy avatar come to earth.

    Bing Yu dangled from his fist, clutching at his golden hand around her throat. With a shuddering zrgggtttt, she was injected with untold volts of electricity.

    The fight was over!

    That familiar electronic voice confirmed it. Lan Jue gently returned Bing Yu to the ground.

    She just regarded him with disbelief. "You understand essence... even more than I do? How can you, at you rank? How when you only have a third-rank Discipline at best?"

    Lan Jue said nothing, though inwardly he muttered about the rank discrimination. There was nothing more to say, so he turned and walked off the field. Bing Yu watched him go, but there wasn't any animosity. Her accomplishments were amazing for an unaffiliated Adept. Ranking wasn't any more important to her than it was for Lan Jue. She had come here to learn something.

    She had felt the whole of her Discipline suppressed after Lan Jue hit her with the final lightning attack. Even before then, she had been locked in place while releasing essence. But when he used it, he could move... it was a matter of their nature! She had only sensed Lan Jue's nature for a fraction of a second, but she was convinced her loss was no fluke.

    Everyone here was a talented Adept, and young. Their differences in rank didn't matter so much as their understanding. If they grasped the essence of who they were and what they could do, their Discipline would inevitably rise to the occasion. An Adept who rose in rank but still didn't understand this, was destined to hit a ceiling and stop improving.

    Bing Yu's curiosity about this Zeus was only greater now after their fight.

    The first round of group one battles had concluded. The results; Titan and Zeus had won, while Bing Yu and Qi Mu had been defeated.

    For the losers, their chances at advancing to the semi-finals were mearger. In the next round, Titan would face Bing Yu while Lan Jue would square off against Qi Mu. If he wanted a chance at qualifying, he'd need to beat the wolf, too.

    Now attentions shifted to the second group, which was now choosing fights. The group consisted of the Pharmacist, Jiang Yuan, Qianbian, and Chi Tianjiao. Of all the groups, it was the one the Accountant had fretted over least. The Pharmacist, with her strength, would find little trouble in advancing through the tournament. Her roughest fight would be against Jian Yuan, the Necromancer from the Dark Citadel.

    The sorting finished, and the Pharmacist's first fight was to be against Chi Tianjiao. Jian Yuan was pitted against Qian Bian.

    "My turn." The Pharmacist gracefully rose to her feet, smiling at Lan Jue.

    He nodded, and gave her a thumbs up.

    Today, she was dressed in a light-blue qi pao that really set off her figure, and highlighted her traditional Chinese style. Her foot lightly touched the ground and then she rose in to the air like a fairy. She landed within the ring, ready for her fight.

    Lan Jue's mind went back to the Accountant's report:

    Chi Tianjiao. Westerner. Discipline; hematomorphosis. Nickname; Pureblood Succubus. Ninth level, sixth rank. Besides Lan Jue, she was the weakest Adept in the quarter-finals.

    However, the Accountant had said that Chi Tianjiao's Discipline was especially dangerous. It awas capable of enacting changes within the blood of their victims. With such a rare and specialized Discipline, there were many ways they could get around a lower rank.

    Chi Tianjiao was another female, but who was unfortunately not blessed with good looks. She was large, and big boned. If one looked at her from behind they might think she was a man. Her features were cut stark with high cheek-bones, and her hair was short and straight as steel nails. It was red, like her hard eyes.

    When they met in the ring, Chi Tianjiao lustily licked her lips. "Your blood has got to taste something special," she hissed.

    The Pharmacist's response was tepid. "Even the basest things feel it appropriate to boast before me."

    "Three, two, one. Begin!"

    Chi Tianjiao heaved a terrible roar and a vigorous aura of red light sprang up around her. Much to the horror of the onlookers, the light congealed and formed in to a figure before her. It looked like half-congealed blood, but more stunning was its likeness to the Pharmacist.

    "Blood boil!" Chi Tianjiao thrust her hands in the sky and shouted again.

    The light around the Pureblood Succubus had darkened to a crimson red. A fire of the same hue danced around the bloody form in front of her.

    On the opposite end of the ring, the Pharmacist suddenly went rigid. Red had begun to creep in to the skin of her face. She could feel it, like the blood in her veins no longer belonged to her. It felt like it was trying to fight its way out of her body. A strange mist had begun to accumulate over the Pharmacist's head before being blown away by the wind.

    "Hmph!" The Pharmacist audibly sniffed at her foe. She stretched her foot out half a step and thrust her hand out vertically with fingers intertwined. Her left foot stamped to the ground.

    In that moment, the image of a golden mountain shimmered in to view behind her before vanishing. Right away, the rising heat in her blood was gone. The creature Chi Tianjiao had summoned fell away in a torrent of blood with their connection severed.

    A cyan light slowly rose from behind the Pharmacist, and soared high in to the air. It broadened until it became an enormous sword that swiped right for Chi Tianjiao. The faint image of an enormous fist could be seen groping through the air, bearing the blade down on the Pharmacist's enemy.

    The Western Adept felt like everything around her was sheered away. She couldn't dodge, or even move. Her claim to fame, that special blood Discipline, was completely useless. All advantage, gone. How could she possibly survive against this peak-ranked Adepts sword?!

    The encroaching swipe of the blade shook the heavens.

    1. The term TJSS used here in , which is a phrase that, today, is a catch-all for all aspects of qi that are good and proper. I'll refer to it hereafter as 'righteous qi'.
Previous Index Next