Chapter 493: The Legend of the Godly Blades

    Chapter 493: The Legend of the Godly Blades

    The sudden, crushing pressure forced the air out of his lungs. All it once it was like a mountain had landed on him. He'd seen improvement in his Discipline, and by extensive command over his Domain and spirit - but this power was overwhelming.

    The Pharmacist didn't appear at all affected, having long since become used to the pressure. Only her hands moved, fingers dancing through the air. Each swaying motion released a wave of light that fell upon the rune.

    All at once the pressure doubled. The room had nothing in the way of ornamentation or furniture, and the only thing he'd seen in it were the cushions. Know he knew why. Anything in here when the Pharmacist let herself loose would be crushed to dust.

    The woman's pretty eyes flared to life, blazing with internal light. But however bright they were, her gaze was ice-cold. The air was thick with a murderous intent so overwhelming that Lan Jue could only stare. He felt like even his soul was frozen.

    He fought against himself, forcing himself to remain still and not interrupt. The Pharmacist had had countless opportunities to harm him in the past, so that was surely not her intention. So he sat, and watched as the Pharmacist continued to reach for something.

    Shot pointed with her right hand, and then a flash. The room was filled with an incandescent light. It was so intense that, if Lan Jue were a normal man, he'd have been outright blinded.

    Slicing within it was a white light, somehow separate that hung in the air.

    Not a light. A sword, one whose every inch blazed with light. Its point was directed to the ground, its handle pointed skyward. When it appeared, the air felt like it turned to liquid. The same suppressive energies that threatened to crush Lan Jue also seemed to work on the sword. Its luminous aura dimmed, ever so slightly. To Lan Jue, the pressure on himself felt more diluted, as well.

    Strange lines were etched along the blade's surface. Looking upon them made Lan Jue's spirit shudder. He'd seen them before, when the Pharmacist fought against the necromancer Jiang Yuan. It was the same blade that overcame the malefic wyrm, the one they spoke about before - her Astrum!

    "Sister, all of this to control your own Astrum?" Lan Jue asked in surprise.

    There was a bitterness in her voice when she answered. "It is more accurate to say, all of this to control what I hope to make my Astrum. If I succeed, I will pass the barrier and become a Paragon. This thing is part of the reason Jun'er was born without sight. It is both a great blessing and a terrible curse. It is the thing that keeps me locked in this place. Only after years of painstaking effort have I seen some success in the last few years.

    There was certainly a story in all of this, but Lan Jue was silent. He didn't wish to interrupt the Pharmacist's explanation.

    "I found it the year I discovered Master's legacy; it was with the medicines, and cultivation teachings. Like them, it was part of the inheritance. But it had a mate. Two swords, and one was taken up by my late husband. We trained together, and improved together, but we still didn't have the strength to approach the weapons. It took a long time for us to understand, but even the presence of their aura helped us obtain knowledge and strengthen our Disciplines. Little by little, we grew strong."

    "At last, when we had come upon the threshold of ninth level, we took the first steps in claiming the weapons for our own. We were so happy. Even just being near them had helped us so much, we foresaw such benefit once we could integrate completely with them."

    "We were right. We advanced faster than other Adepts, and were stronger. Eventually, though, we discovered that something wasn't right. The weapons were actually much stronger than we had at first thought."

    "Master's teachings speak of them. Inherited blades, artifacts even he couldn't completely control. He gave these weapons to the future, so that a way to unlock their powers would be revealed. They are a set of four in total. I remember Master telling me once that the swords should never be brought together, even though they are inexorably linked. No human could contain their power, and the result would be outright Armageddon. He never joined with them himself, only studied their power. When he felt as though he didn't have much longer to leave, he let them loose to find their destiny.

    "The weapons are dangerous, he urged. They are as murderous as they are sharp. In the condition he was in, he dare not attempt to command them, lest he cut his diminishing life short. His teachings urge us to be cautious, and only train with them once we achieve Paragon.

    "Unfortunately, my husband and I chose not to heed the warning. We were sure that ninth level was strong enough to assert our dominance on the blades. We could do what the Master could not, we thought. When we first joined with them was when we discovered the swords were much more terrifying than we could have imagined.

    "The murderous energies, that infernal sharpness... it tore at us. As a couple, as people. It quickly began to carve away our lives. Only great doses of medicine saved us. For the sword, it was like the addition of our life force excited them. The energy they released was stronger than ever. We couldn't hold it, and it felt like they were trying to slice their ways out from within us. Still we were confident. We had succeeded in joining with our Astrums! How could this be wrong? The only thing that would stop us from mastering these weapons was death itself.

    "In order to sustain ourselves, we refined our medicines. Then, we discovered that certain power gems had the ability to suppress the sword's power. We searched furiously for more gems, and they helped. But we needed more, and in order to afford them my husband joined the army. He enlisted with the exploration fleet to scout of planets for resource mining. He chose the job so he could keep an eye on discoveries that could help. Neither of us knew he'd never come back."

    She paused for a moment, choked by the overwhelming sadness evident in her eyes.

    "That was when I became Skyfire Avenue's Pharmacist, and opened the Hall of Supreme Harmony. With the help of Master's teachings I persevered. My daughter and I pulled through, day by day. It's funny, when you think about it. My husband and I were both so attached to those swords, just as they were cutting us apart. I honestly can't tell you if I love them or hate them. They've brought me great strength, but also terrible pain."

    Lan Jue was a good listener. He sat across from her and never made a sound as she told her tale. It was evident this was something she'd held on to for a long time. It was important for her to let it out.

    The Pharmacist lifted her head to the ceiling, denying her tears the chance to tumble down her cheeks. It took a moment for her to regain composure.

    "I hate thinking back on these things. It's only gotten better in the last couple years. Jun'er is bigger, and I am slowly asserting my control over the artifact. As long as I don't try to tap in to its full power, I can suffer it. Little brother, have you guessed why I'm telling you this?" She suddenly asked.

    Lan Jue looked up at her. "You said that there were four blades. I imagine Jun Yongye and Xuanyuan Shishi are the other two. They must have also come across Celestial Master Qian's teachings."

    The Pharmacist smiled. "Not quite, but close. They acquired a part of Master's legacy. That day, when the Terminator made his threats, he could never have made good on them. What he did not know was that the styles of Jun Yongye and Xuanyuan Shishi where actually two parts of what was intended to be a harmonious whole. Once the two of them are in tandem, it's said to be completely invincible - like magic. Even your Taiji sword style, or the legendary arts like Lonely Blade, would struggle to go toe to toe. That is to say, in a fight with the Terminator they wouldn't necessarily have the disadvantage. But that would mean letting the swords free, with all their hungry power."

    Lan Jue looked at the Pharmacist, stunned. He'd never heard even a whisper of this before. Where there really dual-style martial arts like this? Unfortunately he had no way of knowing. When he left to see his own master, and learn the way of the Taiji Sword, then he would discover more about the power of the combined weapons.

    The Pharmacist continued. "All of these weapons share the same name. You're a Disciple of Jue Di's martial expertise. Can you guess what it is?"
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