Chapter 484: The Emperor Jewel

    Chapter 484: The Emperor Jewel

    The enemy forces came nearer. Much to the shock and fear of the audience, they saw that the monsters outnumbered the Seventh Fleet at least ten to one. Some of those beasts had a mass to rival warships. These were truly the things of nightmare!

    The fleet circled the wagons in a defensive maneuver. Once the ships were safe, they launched their counterattack.

    Fighters were expelled from their hangers and joined the mech suits, battling the monsters as they descended upon them. The thick-skinned aliens were well-defended, but individually couldn't contend with a warship's armor. Their numbers made up for it.

    In the ultimate insult, each kill became the creatures' food. Everything was consumed and used for more destruction. The other two distant planets were also quick to take advantage of the food source. Waves of crimson blotted out the twinkling distant galaxies - reinforcements. The creatures were too many to count, stretching to the distant horizon.

    The fleet continued to fire wildly as the creatures came closer and closer. Each one killed was replaced by ten. A blast from the mothership ripped open a vast swath, but it shut half a heartbeat later.

    The recording froze.

    The ragged breathing of the crowd was audible from everywhere. Households all over human occupied space were incensed, frightened, and shocked by what they were witnessing. The tournament competitors watched with solemn faces. Lan Jue had known of this for some time, being seeing it like this caused a storm of emotions to appear on his face.

    The North was the strongest human Alliance to date, but even their entire armada counted only around ten battle fleets. A single one could conquer a galaxy. Whether it was distance, strength, or energy renewal, there was no naval body that could match them. People called it invincible.

    This harshly underlined how arrogant humanity really was. This terror from the depths of space was unimaginable. Their soldiers were swallowed up by the invaders. The aliens were stronger than the fleet. It looked stronger than ten of them.

    This was also just the tip of the iceberg. These three planets were beyond comprehension. Whatever destructive capabilities they had, the crowds still couldn't guess. But, who would go out to learn more? Who could they ask to sacrifice themselves like that?

    The Terminator's voice called out again. His tone was no different, but in the thick atmosphere it sounded much lower.

    "Everything you've seen is true. The Seventh Fleet has valiantly given their lives for their Alliance. They died to give us this information. They bought it with blood. Now we know the strength of our hostile neighbor, thanks to them.

    "We've learned that these three planets are living entities. They move at the speed of a Bastion, and are getting closer. At least a year, as long as three... that's how long before they reach our homes.

    "Thanks to the information gleaned by the East, we've discovered that these monsters consume essence. They use what they devour to evolve - and not just life, but anything with energy. Make no mistake, these beasts are out for our destruction. What you saw was not a single event.

    "When these alien planets arrive, we will be faced with the possible destruction of our species. But don't be hopeless. We held this tournament to show you that humanity has a chance. Make no mistake, fellow human citizens... we have entered a dire era. Starting immediately, we need to muster all of our strength. We need to make preparations to meet these enemies and stop them at the gates. They will be greeted with our greatest weapons and be lain to waste. If we can do this, then there will be nothing to stop humanity from prospering in to the distant future. There will be no threat to our continued existence among the stars.

    Silence hung over the arena, as the spectators let the news sink in. Those images were frightening, the moment that a hundred thousand people died. Before the news had been kept confidential, and even family members didn't know the circumstances behind their loved ones' death, though the government compensated them. Many in the audience cried openly as memories of their loss came flooding back.

    The pictures vanished and the floodlights returned. The excitement of earlier was gone, replaced with a thick and somber atmosphere. It stretched on for some time, until Mo Xiao's voice returned.

    "Ladies and gentlemen, the Great Adept Tournament has come to a close. Please join us for the awards ceremony, where our Northern hosts will be presenting the finalists with their prizes."

    It was the moment they had been waiting for, but the mood had soured. Excitement was in short supply. It proceeded under the dark threat of alien destruction. Finalists were assured at least an S-ranked gemstone, and because there was no fight Xuanyuan Shishi and the Pharmacist received the same s-ranked gem.

    The second part of the awards ceremony followed. Jun Yongye and Lan Jue stood before the two Paragons. They had been given no time to change clothes and looked pretty beat up.

    There had been two main reasons for the Great Adept Tournament. The first - as mentioned - was to inspire the youth of today to work for strength. The second was to announce what the Terminator had dubbed 'the Dire Era.' These goals had been achieved, so the rest was keeping promises. They didn't need to make a fuss.

    The Epochrion floated to the space before Jun Yong ye. She bore a tray in her hands, with a box-shaped item beneath a red cloth

    "Open it. Congratulations!" She sounded like a young woman, but there was no emotion in her voice.

    Jun Yongye pulled away the cloth to reveal a box that looked to be made of crystal. Within, a twinkling gem stone the size of a man's fist sat. It's faceted, oval-cut surface glowed with a golden light. The box was still clothed, thus constraining its aura, but it nonetheless caught every Adept's attention.

    Lan Jue saw it clearest, standing right beside the Blademaster. He couldn't help but gasp, like he was looking upon a masterpiece. He was in the power gem business, after all, he knew what he was looking at. It was an s-ranked gem, of course, and a rare one.

    It was called the Emperor. That's right, the Emperor Jewel!

    It was a lofty name, but it was not one given lightly. The functions of the gem earned it the title. The Emperor Jewel didn't contain a great deal of energy, not did it possess the ability to ingest more. It did, however, have a very special ability. That was capitulation. Through some means, the power gem forced other gems to submit to a new master.

    Not all power gems were safe. There was a level of uncertainty when using certain types. Some contained wild energies, or emitted harmful radiation. That was why there was a saying in the world of power gem trade; the brighter it twinkles, the stronger it booms.

    There were always exceptions. The Phylactery stone imbedded in Lan Jue's hand was an example. It had the ability to draw in outside energy, but its primary use was containment. The Tear of Neptune filtered energy and removed impurities. But these were outliers. Most power gems were dangerous or unstable, and steps needed to be taken before they could be used personally or in construction.

    This was true, unless you had an Emperor Jewel. With one in hand, those problems cease to be problems. The crystal pacified whatever unstable gem was placed before it, removing downsides and constraining radiation. There were no known gems that were resistant to the Emperor Jewel's domination.

    Aside from that, it had other stunning applications. Most warships sat on complex lattice arrays of power gems that had the destructive force of a supernova. With an Emperor Gem, it made them much better than normal energy reactors.
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