Chapter 501: Nirvana and Luo Xianni

    Chapter 501: Nirvana and Luo Xianni

    "Chi Bupang! 1. Get out here right now!" Just then, a woman's voice full of anger and alluring promise echoed through the forests.

    In that instant, the colors of this whole world seemed to change. The vibrant expanse felt like it came grinding to a halt, or perhaps more fitting was to say it was a picture. Everywhere he looked, it was like a hundred thousand detailed paintings layered on top of one another. Even he looked like a painted reflection of himself.

    "Rip!" The sound was followed by a hand that appeared to tear open reality and pull itself out. Cracks spider webbed out from the hand and crackled in all directions. They shook and quivered for a moment then, as though they were glued together, things returned quickly back to normal.

    Jue Di thrust himself between Lan Jue and the strange hand, and in that moment Lan Jue felt like he was a towering mountain standing in his defense. And yet, there was a sense of instability in his master's power. No... that wasn't right. Not his power, his emotions.

    A figure appeared in the air above them. It dissolves in to a beam of light that shot to earth, and coalesced once again a few feet away.

    From behind Jue Di's wide shoulder, Lan Jue could see a very attractive, middle-aged woman. She wore tight-fitting jeans that made her legs look long and shapely, a white jacket that accentuated her other features. Her hair was pulled back in to a simple pony tail. If it weren't for that strange light in her eye, Lan Jue would have assumed she was around twenty years old.

    Right now those eyes were blazing with fury, and they were fixed dead on Jue Di. The whole place was suffocating under the weight of her rage.

    Lan Jue knew it without having to ask - she was a Paragon. The brief moment he experienced the flare of her power, he could sense that it was stronger than the God of Wine he'd encountered before, Bize. However, in his memory Lan Jue couldn't remember a Paragon with these abilities.

    Long ago the Clairvoyant had said that there were a number of hidden Paragons out in the universe. This woman must be one of them, and what's more, she seemed to know his dad.

    In a situation like this there was nothing Lan Jue could do to help. He stayed put behind Jue Di, and didn't dare try to join in with his Discipline.

    Jue Di looked embarrassed. "Ho-... how did you find this place?"

    The woman glared at him with eyes like frozen daggers. "Hiding! You're hiding from me! Chi Bupang, I swear, you could run all the way up to heaven and dig all the way down to hell and I'll still find you! But this time I'm not letting you go anywhere!"

    "Heh, eh... Xianni... you see we have a young man here. Help me save a little face." Jue Di's voice was placative and apologetic.

    Lan Jue could only watch, with his mouth hanging open in shock. What the hell is going on?! He thought to himself. I this the same Jue Di? He's scaring my melons off. 2

    In every instance he could remember, Jue Di was always in a position of power. His strength, wisdom and character assured that he was never seen as lesser than anyone else. Forget never seeing or hearing anything like this, Lan Jue downright couldn't believe what was going on.

    "Face? Do you even know what that means? Face. What about my youth?! Ten years wasted, and where are we now?" The angrier she got, the fiercer her aura became.

    "You head back first," Jue Di said, speaking over his shoulder to Lan Jue. He curtly waved the younger man away in attempts to hide his humiliation.

    "Oh." Lan Jue didn't protest or ask questions. He knew when it was appropriate to ask question, and in this case it would be safer to watch from a distance.

    "Wait right there!" The woman roared.

    Lan Jue froze in place. His wide eyes slowly turned to Jue Di.

    At last the newcomer turned her eyes to Lan Jue and looked him up and down. She narrowed her eyes to angry little slits. "What's your relationship with him?"

    Jue Di hurriedly piped in. "Disciple! He's my disciple."

    Her eyes hardened further. "Just a disciple? Young man, what do you call him?"

    Lan Jue just stared at her.

    She took a step forward, and in a blink she was mere inches from Lan Jue's face - like she just appeared there. He was familiar with interdimensional powers from the Wine Master, otherwise he would have assumed that was what she was using. This was different, though it seemed to have something to do with interdimensional space.

    "I asked you a question. Did you not hear?" She hissed the words mere centimeters from his face.

    A smothering pressure bore down on Lan Jue. He found himself speaking in spite of himself. "Father, this..."

    "FATHER?!" She screeched. Her voice was so pregnant with indignant rage that Lan Jue stumbled backward to get away from her. By then she had railed on Jue Di, and the little thirty-something woman looked ready to tear him apart. Reality swirled and warped frantically around them.

    An orb of black appeared suddenly, as deep and dense as a black hole. It swelled until the two were swallowed up, and then disappeared just as quickly. Lan Jue stood alone now in an empty field, too stunned to react. 3

    It wasn't that he was confused, he knew had happened. When a Paragon reached the third level - Nirvana - they were able to flee to interdimensional space.

    Jue Di was the undisputed master of such skills, but he knew his father's energy signature and that wasn't it. It was hers! She wasn't just a Paragon... she was a third-level Paragon!

    Lan Jue remembered a talk he had with the Pharmacist, where he vaguely recalled her mentioning that Jue Di was the only one that may be a fourth-level. Her own master, Celestial Master Qian - was third level, or possibly fourth if he was alive. The Eye of Tomorrow had just entered in to third level when he sequestered himself. Other than those three, the remaining known Paragons were level two or below.

    This woman was an unknown factor, at least not a Paragon he'd ever heard of, and actually at Nirvana level. Since when where there so many Paragons running around? Was she really that strong?

    He suspected there was more to this. Who knew the true identity of this woman his father didn't seem able to handle?

    After thinking for a moment, Lan Jue pulled up his communicator. He had a sneaking suspicion that this new Paragons Domain was similar to the Wine Master's. He could sense the dimensional ripples she created, but they weren't as pure as the one's he'd sensed from his old friend. It felt more... solid. Perhaps the Wine Master would know something.

    "Uh." 4 The Wine Master's voice crackled on the other end. He sounded as somber as the day they got back from Luo.

    "Do you have a minute to talk?" Lan Jue asked.

    "I'm having some wine." It was code, meaning if it isn't important, don't bother me with it now.

    "Yeah? What are you enjoying?"


    Lan Jue chuckled. "They say Rieussec is good when you're in a good mood or when you're lovesick. So which are you?"

    "If you've called to waste my time with nonsense then I'm not interested." The Paragon growled.

    "I've found another Paragon, a new one," Lan Jue said. "I've never heard of her. A new player certainly changes things, don't you think?"

    "Who does she work for?" He asked.

    Lan Jue explained. "I'm not sure. She's a woman in her thirties or forties, and very pretty. Her Discipline had vestiges of strong dimensional ripples, and her protogenia seems to somehow segment reality. It was like everything existed in a cracked mirror. What I can tell you is that she can summon the Protogenic Singularity. That must mean she's entered Nirvana."

    On the other end, the Wine Master was quiet. Lan Jue didn't trouble him, he knew the old man was thinking.

    A little while later the Wine Master spoke up again, but there was a strange note in his voice. "Is her last name Luo?"

    "I dunno," Lan Jue admitted. "But I heard someone call her Xianni."

    He heard the old man yelp. "Her? Where is she? I'll be there right away."

    Lan Jue chuckled sheepishly. "I'm sorry, I can't tell you where we are. It concerns an elder family member."

    The Wine Master was a Paragon, and had a wealth of experience in controlling his emotions. His momentary shock was replaced quickly with calm once more. He was also aware of this enigmatic 'elder' Lan Jue spoke of. "Him?"

    "Yeah." Lan Jue didn't need to hide everything from the Wine Master.

    "So you know this lady, Xianni?" Lan Jue inquired.

    He heard the Wine Master chuckle dryly. "I don't just know her, she's my aunt." 5

    Lan Jue's face twisted in confusion. "But, she's so much younger than you."

    "Bull**!" The Wine Master's tone was irritated. "A Paragon's appearance remains the same as the day they broke through, until they die. My aunt had incredible talent, and broke through when she was only thirty-seven. Of course she'd look younger than me."

    "Why haven't I heard about this Luo family ancestor until just now? At her level of power, she should be widely known! She's not on the Paragon list..."

    The Wine Master's tone eased again. "That involves Avenue secrets. All you need to know is that she was one of the founders. The Clairvoyant was the Council's chairman at the time, and she was his right hand. She was also part of the reason the Clockmaker left. Later, for reasons I don't know, she had a falling out with the Clairvoyant and left. She's isolated herself ever since. She used to be the Avenue's secret weapon, if she were still here then we wouldn't get so much trouble from the other groups. It's been so long... it's incredible you've run in to her. Tell her I'd like her to come back."

    Lan Jue scratched his head. "Well, eh... I'll try. Your aunt has quite the temper, heh."

    1. The characters sound like 'eat and not get fat', I wonder if it's the author's play on Jue Di's insatiable need for new experiences. OR I'm reading too much in to it.

    2. Ok... yes... that doesn't make sense, but it's funny and you get the idea. It's a direct translation.

    3. Yup.

    4. Grunting is the preferred way to answer summons in China, though 'wei' is usually used when speaking on the phone.

    5. Father's sister.
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