Chapter 472: The Sword-Spirit Fairy

    Chapter 472: The Sword-Spirit Fairy

    Lan Jue had encountered Astrum before, with the Wine Master's scepter first to come to mind. But this white sword of hers was different, like it belonged on a whole other level. Could it be a relic, passed down from the ancient days?

    If that were true and this sword once belonged to Celestial Master Qian, then it was the faintest glimpse of the power he had wielded. His own master might one day be so strong. Hell, in truth Lan Jue didn't even know what his master's Astrum was. All the power he'd witnessed had come only from the old man's fists.

    Like going from a steak to chicken soup, the remaining fights all seemed bland and uninteresting. The two swordsmen did what they were expected to do, and swept their final matches.

    At last, the final four were official revealed; Group One, Zeus the God of Lightning; Group Two, the Pharmacist, who some were now calling the Harbinger Fairy ; Group Three, the White Blademaster Jun Yongye; and Group Four, Ten Thousand Swords as One, Xianyuan Shishi.

    The crowd had chosen a new moniker for the powerful Pharmacist. Sword-Spirit Fairy, a name they'd chosen after witnessing her harrowing command of the sword - 'Annihilate', and it had! The Pharmacist seemed well pleased with their choice.

    By night the evening news casts scrolled through highlights. Now everyone could see that the East had swept the tournament. Once again, the East was the center of everyone's attention. This was especially true for Skyfire Avenue.

    The Pharmacist was the only remaining competitor of the Avenue's four entrants. But was that not enough? Then, the other three were Easterners as well. In a few shorts rounds, the East went from underdog to dominating force.

    "We need a meeting!" This was the frantic message sent to the Avenue delegates through their communicators.

    Intercontinental Hotel. A meeting room.

    Several people were seating around the circular conference table. The room had sunk in to an uncomfortable silence. The accountant glowered at its polished surface.

    His depression was warranted. Not only had his determinations for the Pharmacist and Lan Jue been wrong, he'd also lost his bet. Jun Yongye had actually given up his final fight against the Driver, making his record 2-1. It was still considered a loss for the Accountant, though.

    Aside from the pouting Adept, all other eyes were fixed upon the Pharmacist. Lan Jue had made his impression, but a day later that was already old news. The Pharmacist's display was not only fresh in their minds, but was a far more terrifying display of strength. No one expected her to do what she'd done, but they'd all seen it with their own eyes.

    The Gourmet looked at her with a serious expression on his face. "Why not take that step?"

    The Pharmacist laughed. "Some things can't be rushed. If I haven't accumulated enough then it won't happen, and I'll never get there."

    The Gourmet sighed. "You need you on the same level." It was a phrase that, although the two were being candid, was not lost on the others gathered. The Pharmacist was strong enough to be a Paragon, so why wasn't she?

    "You can never forget the truths you learn of protogenia. My power comes from my Discipline's ability to destroy protogenic manifestations, and that means I need to understand it clearer than anyone. One day it will happen, but at least not now."

    The Gourmet smiled ever so slightly. "Whatever the case, congratulations. The Avenue won't ask what you can do, we're just happy that you're a part of our family. But, from what we've seen today we would be remise not to offer you a seat on the Council.

    The Barber jumped to his feet. "That's right. Fame follows merit! I'd gladly give up my Councilor position to her. Watching how everyone has performed brings me great pleasure, but also great shame. I'll perform my penance when we get back home." This wasn't sadness talking. He already knew how strong Lan Jue was from long before, though he wasn't aware to what degree. Zeus' strength and the Pharmacist's incredible showing had inspired him.

    The Pharmacist, though, gently shook her head. "There's no need. I have no interest in becoming a Councilor. I prefer calm and quiet. If you need me specifically, then you can send the Jewelry Master to let me know - I won't refuse."

    Lan Jue blinked. She was both refusing personal advancement and supporting him instead. But now everyone was falling silent. The Gourmet's next words would be important.


    The Great Adept Tournament had citizens across their entire neck of the galaxy buzzing with excitement. The Adept world was especially thrilled with the appearance of these incredible Talents.

    Of course, the East - having swept the semi-finals - was the big winner. Since yesterday they had received over three thousand applications to join. All of them were Adepts. Apparently the Avenue's strong showing had inspired a sense of cohesion and patriotism in the Easterners. The Avenue helped push it along by releasing some information about its five leading Paragons. Excluding the Clairvoyant, of course.

    The two newest additions, especially, served to lift the Avenue up. Their ascension had stirred the motivations of middle- and high-grade Adepts alike. Clearly, the Avenue was a place that was quite good at making Paragons.

    But there were detractions too. Here on Luo, the excitement surrounding the semi-finals was different somehow. Everything was calm on the surface, but was that how people really felt?

    Lan Jue was sunk in his sofa, staring in to the middle-distance with his brows screwed up tight. He was thinking of something. Little by little, a grin crept on to his face.

    "I can't get ahold of Chu Cheng. What are you smirking about?" Qianlin asked, looking at him strangely.

    Lan Jue had been trying to reach his fellow Monarch all day.

    He smiled. "Am I not allowed to smile? 'Flake-tastic' is another name we have for that bastard. He's the representative of his family, and that means when it comes down to it he has to stand beside his bloodline. However, whether it's his decision or not, if he has to break off his relationship with me then he'll let me know himself. But at the very least we won't see any significant changes until after the tournament. The relationship between the Three Alliances is improving, and with it the relationships between all the Adept organizations. In the end, the basic premise never changes; humanity's future is paramount. Right now, though, outsiders will watch us with covetous eyes. The North especially will do what they can to keep us down, but not until the games are done."

    Qianlin watched him with a calm smile, the nervousness that had been clawing at her gone. She moved to his side, and said "Should I ask dad to send the army in to help us leave?"

    Lan Jue shook his head. "No. If there's a chance we could get out of here safely, why risk a confrontation with the North? Anyway, I'm anxious for the fight with Jun Yongye and Xuanyuan Shishi - I want to see if my theory is right. I've gained a lot through this whole experience, that's the most important thing. We should also keep an ear out for any new information about the alien aggressors, like how strong they really are. This is important, for every human alive."

    Qianlin nodded her head in agreement. "Wherever you go, I'm going to. We'll fight them shoulder to shoulder."

    He smiled at her. "You know, I saw a particularly choice bottle of alcohol while making my way to the meeting. I've earned some money, so what would you say to a little drink?"

    "Alright!" Qianlin said with a beaming grin. "I don't really like to drink, though..."

    "No problem," he assured her. "You'll definitely like this stuff. It's famous for being popular with women."

    "Oh, really?" She asked.

    Lan Jue nodded in affirmation. "Let's go - today it's just us."

    The two of them bundled up in their urban camouflage of hat, glasses and mask, then left their room. The hotel's bar was on the second floor, at the end of a winding corridor. Like most bars, its lighting had been brought down to a comfortable twilight. Each table had an elegant candle burning in its center. Very atmospheric.

    Every time Lan Jue visited a fine hotel, he made a point of looking over their bar. There were always surprises in places like this.

    "I'm very sorry, sir. That bottle isn't for sale. It's decoration, a treasure of the owner." One of the waitresses was apologetically answering Lan Jue.

    He smiled at her. "No problem, kindly call over the manager. I'll talk it over with them, is that alright?"

    "Of course sir, please wait," she answered. Places like this were famous for their high-quality service. They did everything in their power to make customers happy.

    Before long, a man appeared in a tight, straight suit. He greeted them both with a smile. "You've certainly got taste, sir," he began.
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