Chapter 494: The Four Banishing Blades

    Chapter 494: The Four Banishing Blades

    A thoughtful expression flit across Lan Jue's face. In reality, he'd guessed the story of these weapons once the Pharmacist started explaining. From what she told him, it sounded as though Celestial Master Qian was not the sword's creator. Instead they were ancient artifact weapons, old and powerful. But where did they come from?

    It was more complicated than that, though. It was common knowledge that an Astrum was destroyed with its owner. How, then, could these swords have survived to be passed on? Perhaps they weren't really Astrum - maybe it was just that simple.

    With such being the case, it must have an ancient heritage. But Lan Jue searched his memory, and could think of nothing about a set of apocalyptic swords. A normal Astrum should be strongest when it's whole, but the Pharmacist displayed incredible ability with only one fourth of a set. They were so strong, and so old, it didn't make any sense that they weren't more widely known. What on earth were they?

    He wracked his brain, but came up with nothing. He shook his head. "You're going to have to tell me. I don't know."

    Her eyes sparkled. "There is a belief, passed down from early generations of humanity. Back then, they aligned themselves with different schools of thought; the School of Insight, and the School of Interpretation 1. The founder of the School of Insight was Celestial Master Lingbao. He, along with Celestial Master Yuanshi and the Elder Sage, constituted the Three Pure Ones. They all followed the same Master - Ancestor Hungjun. The great teacher separated a treasure in to four parts, and gave one to each of his disciples. Each of these great artifacts had a name; Ultus, Occisus, Captus, and Demortus. The Banishing Blades!

    "The Banishing Blades?" Lan Jue exhaled upon hearing the names. Was it true? Could they be the Banishing Blades?

    Now that she'd told him the name, of course he knew of them. But calling them an artifact was only scratching the surface. The legend of the Banishing Blades talks about the Pure Ones using them in tandem, a style called the Banishing Stance. They would emerge from any conflict unscathed. They were considered among the strongest god weapons.

    "Sis... are you telling me that your sword is one of the Banishing Blades?"

    The Pharmacist smiled. " 'Ultus sharp, Occisus death. Captus naught but blood light left. Demortus' shifts are limitless. Godly blood spills down my dress.' The sword I bear is the sword of death - Occisus!"

    Lan Jue's eyes were so wide they threatened to roll out of his head. His pupils were wide in surprise, and he took a hard gulp. The... the Banishing Blades!

    Holy **!

    The Pharmacist saw his expression and bubbled a laugh. "And with Celestial Master Qian as strong as he was, how was it even he couldn't persevere against their power? No one is sure whether Ancestor Hong Jun actually made the swords, but it is clear that they are incomparably mighty. Unfortunately, when Master found the swords he did not also discover the Banishing Diagram - teachings for how to perform the Banishing Stance. Its power is enough to obliterate a Bastion ship, and no man-made object could ever contend with its destructive power."

    Occisus... Occisus, Occisus! The name echoed again and again in his mind as he struggled to comprehend.

    "Hey, come back to me." The Pharmacist waved a hand in front of his face. He snapped back to the present and looked her way.

    "Occisus, that's really one of the Banishing Blades. Sis, with that in your hands, you could defeat the Terminator even as a first-level Paragon." Lan Jue said.

    The Pharmacist smiled. "That sounds about right. Occisus is the most murderous of them - the Terminator wouldn't be too much of a problem then."

    Lan Jue's eyes suddenly narrowed. "So that means, Jun Yongye and Xuanyuan Shishi..."

    "... are the same. Jun Yongye is Captus, and Xuanyuan Shishi - the ten thousand swords - is Demortus. The one my husband took with him when he left was the sharpest of them, and the first among the Banishing Blades. Ultus."

    Lan Jue's breath had become ragged. He tripped over himself to talk. "So in the tournament, neither of them were able to completely control their blade, either?" Now the strength of these weapons was well established. If those two gentlemen had been able to use the weapon to its fullest, how could he have become champion?

    The Pharmacist explained. "Xuanyuan Shishi is a little less advanced than his friend. He cannot control Demortus' power. Jun Yongye is further along - you've experienced what I'm explaining."

    That was indeed true. He had been awash in the unbridled power of it. If it hadn't been for his sudden comprehension of the nature of yin and yang, he'd have lost. Victory was achieved when, at last, the union of yin and yang lightning was complete.

    "You remember, after the round-robin? Those two already knew what power I wielded. That's why they called me sister, and I call them fellow disciples. They asked me to give up my spot in the final four, so they could have a chance to test you. That's ultimately why I chose to forfeit against Jun Yongye... and his understanding of the blade is inferior to mine."

    "Test?" He thought back to his fights against the two Eastern swordsmen. He remembered how strange the things they said seemed. Did this mean...

    The Pharmacist continued. "Yes, they were testing you. In fact, that was their whole purpose in coming - to find two people worthy. As it turns out, you were the best candidate. You aren't just strong, but have an idea of your Domain as well. Once Poseidon shared that story of your heroism, you passed their test."

    There was a hint of doubt in Lan Jue's face as he answered her. "But why? My teacher was Jue Di, and you can't build a house on a different foundation. Anyway, no one even knows where Celestial Master Qian is, or if he's around at all."

    The Pharmacist chuckled and shook her head. "You don't understand. I just said Jun Yongye is Captus, and Shishi is Demortus. Do you understand?"

    "Of course!" He said. "Jun Yongye possesses the one sword and Xuanyuan Shishi has the other, right?"

    She shook her head. "No. I said they are the swords, not that they have the swords."

    His eyes widened again. He didn't believe what he was hearing, but he understood it.

    "You mean... they are actually swords?"

    "How else do you think there would suddenly appear two young masters?" She asked. "Each of these weapons have a soul, and my own weapon's spirit has already joined with mine. I am it, and it is me. It's been like this ever since we discovered Occisus and Ultus. Probably due to the connections between the swords, Jun Yongye and Xuanyuan Shishi would know if the other weapons have chosen a host. Little by little, that sword spirit awakened within them, which allows them to become the image of the sword. They told me, they came out to join the tournament because they were lonely. The Banishing Blades are said to bring tragedy with them wherever they go. This was true the last time they were revealed to the world. It took Celestial Master Qian and the other Elders together to contain the Banishing Stance. Ancestor Tongtian took back the weapons and, in an act of guilt, distributed them among humanity. He bequeathed them to man, so that they may prepare for the next time they'll be needed. Their arrival is for one purpose, to avert disaster."

    "The Clairvoyant told me this, while convincing me to join the Avenue. He also said that the swords were an omen of impending doom."

    A shiver ran along Lan Jue's spine. He suddenly understood. Everything was connected, and there was always a cause and effect. But most terrifying, was that all of it seemed to be the machinations of the Eye of Tomorrow. From he and Qianlin's run-in with Bize, to the sudden appearance of these mystical blades. The Clairvoyant saw it all.

    It was uncomfortable, to feel like someone was playing with your destiny. In the end, though, there wasn't anything Lan Jue could do about it.

    "So I have been chosen, by Captus and Demortus." Lan Jue tried to control his thudding heart. His question was almost unconscious.

    She nodded. "More specifically, they've chosen both of you. After all, you didn't fight them alone."

    "Qianlin?" Lan Jue looked at her in shock.

    She nodded sagely. "Just so."

    He shook his head. "Then, where are they? Why didn't they come back with us?"

    "I can't say," she replied. "But I believe it won't be very long before they come find you. In the meantime, it's imperative that you refine your Discipline as much as you can. If you don't, you'll end up making the same mistake I did. Don't count on the strength of you and Qianlin together to control them. You have two individual spirits to convince, not just one. Become Paragons. Only then can you control the power they wield.

    1. These refer to fictional schools from a 16th century book called Investiture of the Gods.
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