Chapter 459: Godslayer

    Chapter 459: Godslayer

    The many mistbaldes joined together in to a single, enormous sword. Beneath the incandescent glow, the blade seemed less surreal than its smaller progenitors. Roiling clouds rolled along its length.

    Although the presence of God was terrifying and intense, the waves of holy power washed right by the great saber. The light parted against its sharp edge like water. There was no resistance for Constantine to interact with.

    That shimmering white light around the saber exploded, spreading outward and away. All that remained was the simple - if gigantic - blade. But then, as a powerful light welled up inside of it, Xuanyuan Shishi's sword whistled through the air as a beam of light - right for the image of God.


    The light in Constantine's eyes flared brighter. From the top of his head, beams of light erupted out and lay upon the figure of God behind him. That divine silhouette was even clearer, as His hand reached out for the encroaching saber.

    The great figure and the enormous sword were set to collide. However, just then, a strange curtain shimmered around the sword and it disintegrated! Once more, those ten thousand swords went sailing through the air. They swept around the silhouette of God like some monstrous meat grinder.

    The auras shifted again, changeable as the tide. The weapons, imbued with a strange energy, were carried through the ring in deadly eddies.

    The Second Coming was built on a foundation of Faith. Much to Constantine's consternation, Xuanyuan Shishi's sword was able to cut right through waves of pure divine Faith - so completely as to sever the minute connections within it.

    The image of God was carved in to a hundred million motes of light, and then disappeared. The mistblades were also affected, and swayed unstably overhead. However, they recovered enough to fly up in to the air over the center of the ring.

    Constantine's face was the definition of disbelief.

    It destroyed Faith! This ability completely undermined everything the Pontiff's Citadel was built on!

    "HERESY!" Constantine's howl rang loud, tearing through the arena. His hand snapped out, and an orb of golden light grew in his palm. It swelled and stretched until it took on the shape of a spear. He hurled it with all of his might.

    The spear became a bolt of golden lightning that struck the mistblade cluster dead center.

    The Spear of Fate - holy judgment!


    The blades were immediately blasted away in all directions. No small number were destroyed, those that were struck by the spear directly.

    The Second Coming and the Spear of Fate; these were the symbols of Constantine's mastery. The Spear was one of the Pontiff's most cherished treasures, a spiritual weapon without equal. The Pontiff bestowed it upon him when his potential as a possible Paragon was revealed. It served its purpose now, as the unexpected addition of a divine weapon set the mistblades in to disarray.

    The audience again heard that heartless grunt. The evaporated remains of Xuanyuan Shishi's swords slithered through the air until they coalesced some distance away. This time, however, they did not become swords. This time the mists condensed in to the form of a man. Meanwhile, the Spear of Fate dissolved in to a beam of light and raced back to its master. Constantine held the weapon tight in his hand, as his shining eyes were filled with violent intent. He glared daggers at the distant figure of Shishi.

    This man had the ability to undermine Faith, and thus was a threat to the Pontiff's Citadel. Constantine, High inquisitor of the faith, had to ensure all threats were eliminated. He himself was a man built on a core of Faith. If Xuanyuan Shishi could shake those deep-seated believes, than he could destroy the man who relied upon them. Constantine knew this clearly, and it filled him with a terrible fear.

    He poured all of that emotion, and all of his own holy power in to the spear. The weapon flashed, releasing a pulse of radiant light before settling back to normal. Normal, but for the addition of several golden runes etched in to its shaft. They pulsed as though with a heartbeat, and emanated a pale golden light.

    These were the souls of fallen Adepts, the fires of so many spirits that were taken by the Spear of Fate. It burned with their stolen essence as the Fires of Judgement. A single touch could turn any living thing to ash.

    Xuanyuan Shishi did not look any different than any time before. His congenial smile was absent, but that was all. His now familiar grunt sounded, and a blade of mist formed within his hand. It was an exceedingly simple sword despite its construction. No different than any of the swords before. What was different now was the man, and the aura that surrounded him. Something was very different.

    Mo Xiao couldn't help but secretly admire the Terminator. It was as he said. This was the Ten Thousand Blades as One - likely Xuanyuan Shishi at his strongest.

    Constantine threw himself at Shishi as fast as he could. His blazing spear was held high, ready to be thrown at any moment. His opponent, calm, moved forward as well. His steps were fluid and he advanced like rolling clouds before a storm.

    The audience held their breath.

    The two foes collided above the center of the ring. Constantine lashed out with the spear, but did not throw it. Instead, the weapon fractured in to a hundred thousand burning beams of light. The Fires of Judgement fell over Xuanyuan Shishi.

    Another grunt. The sword in Shishi's hand quivered ever so slightly. Then, seemingly from nowhere at all, a forest of sharp sword-swipes hurled themselves toward the light.

    "Clang! Crack!" The cacophonous sounds were so loud they shook the arena. The spectators held their ears, suddenly caught in what sounded like a clash of two massive armies. Through the dazzling display they could see that the Fires of Judgement had no more power over Shishi than God had. The flames would flash against his strikes then vanish like they'd never been.

    The Eastern swordsman had vanished somewhere in the clash, but reappeared moments later floating gracefully in the air. He bore a quiet majesty, and a very different sword. It was one, but it was not. Onlookers could see the blade quite clearly, but it wasn't one blade. It was countless thousands of them, occupying the same space in Shishi's palm. They were ever shifting, phasing in and out constantly.

    Lan Jue's eyes were fixed upon the swordsman. His heart raced, carefully analyzing every move. The Way of Changes... wasn't his own lightning Discipline the same? The explosive nature of it was inherently unpredictable. If he could learn to control it, marry it with something like the ability Xuanyuan Shishi commanded, than his Astrum would be a truly powerful artifact.

    All of his focus was on Shishi, trying to ascertain any hint to the man's philosophy. It would serve nothing to focus on the style - it was too fast, and too much. But if he could learn the intention behind it, he could apply that knowledge to his own studies.

    His eyes narrowed. The fight was getting more intense.

    Constantine was fierce in his belief in victory. He bore the Spear of Fate! Whatever the tricks, Shishi had only a simple sword. How hard could it be to break through it to the foe behind? He'd wanted to keep it up his sleeve for his fight against the Pharmacist, or perhaps Titan. But he was moved by a vision, this heretic impaled on the end of his master's weapon.

    However fierce his belief, though, he watched as Xuanyuan Shishi and his pauper's blade unceremoniously blocked the power of his divine spear. The Fires of Judgement had nothing to burn, and fizzled out impotently. The sword it contended against was ever changing, and it was like the holy fires got lost and overwhelmed.

    Shishi had gradually earned an advantage. Constantine could defend himself with his spear, but the swordsman's style attacked from all angles. The Spear of Fate in this Inquisitor's hands was good to block only the most basic of attacks. He faced one of the most powerful styles of martial art in the history of mankind.

    Their gulf in Discipline gave way to a deficit of skill. Constantine began to give ground, inch by inch. His spear burned fierce as ever, but he couldn't compete with Shishi's speed.

    "Rrrrrip!" A tear appeared on the front of Constantine's coat. He reacted by forcing his spear to erupt again, but Shishi hardly moved. There was another quiver of his sword, and countless sword-swipes tore through the air to meet every beam of light.

    The High Inquisitor was so enraged he could spit blood. He set his jaw, locked his knees and refused to budge. He would face all his foe could muster, head on.

    He was no fool, he knew he couldn't content with this man in technique. But he was stronger, his Discipline was stronger. He would hold out, until this inferior Adept ran out of stamina. That's when he would make his move.

    But Xuanyuan Shishi showed no signs of slowing down. In fact, each wave of attacks came quicker than the last. The Pontiff's last great hope was bowing under the pressure. Dozens of small wounds opened up all over his body.

    Soon he was covered from head to toe in blood.

    This was no slight to Constantine's mighty defenses. It was instead a ringing endorsement of how sharp Shishi's attacks were. The energy of these attacks was as changeable and insidious as their physical manifestation. He could block them, but the energy would find a way to worm passed his guard. Each strike wreaked havoc on him internally. He could feel himself losing control over the spear.

    To the audience Xuanyuan Shishi seemed the embodiment of all of those swords. Half-seen shadows of blades flashed around the High Inquisitor, so fast and so frequent they were hard to pick out. Constantine stood strong, but his strength was slipping. Soon, it was even hard to keep a grip on his treasured spear.

    The look on Archangel Metatron's face could slay a man. Although he and Constantine were not of the same generation, that only made the facts more acutely obvious. Metatron's own hopes were fading, and were now placed on the shoulders of the young Inquisitor. The Pontiff's Citadel had to ensure its continued strength. They would need a Paragon leader.

    The East was much stronger than anyone could have anticipated. From the White Blademaster to the Ten Thousand Blades as One, they commanded abilities that were outside of their comprehension. He was stronger, his Discipline was stronger, his weapon was stronger, he would be a Paragon... how could he be in this situation?
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