Chapter 605: Lan Jue’s Pride

    Chapter 605: Lan Jue's Pride

    "Teacher?" After a moment of stillness Jin Tao shot to his feet. He scooted to Lan Jue's side with a sheepish expression.

    Star Division's commander chuckled. "You're vigilant. That's a good thing."

    Jin Tao cast a sideways glance at Tang Xiao then dropped his eyes to the floor. "Teacher, I feel useless. My comprehension is lacking. Tang Xiao has already discovered something, but I haven't."

    Lan Jue wrapped an arm around the young man's shoulders. "You think too much. Everyone has their own chance, in their own time. Who knows when that'll be, I don't. But remember that so long as you're breathing there are opportunities. The trick is that these opportunities only come to the people who are ready. Frankly speaking when you first asked to be my apprentice, I wasn't sure. Not because of your Talent, but because of your character. Today, I'm proud I made the decision. There are two sides to everything. There was a side of you who was a troublemaker in school, but you've flipped. Now you're an excellent Disciple, and the single most determined person I have ever met. It's true that you needed the decoction to help you, but not everyone can survive it. The fact that you did speaks volumes.

    "Your teacher sees how hard you've been working. I know that the second you're opportunity comes, you're going to grab it with everything you've got. I didn't have your strength of will when I was your age. Don't doubt yourself. You can't if you're going to make this your obsession. Do you understand?"

    Jin Tao looked up at his teacher, and that steely persistence flashed in his eyes. He nodded resolutely.

    Lan Jue grinned back. "We're moving out soon, there might be another opportunity out there for you. No more doubts, dogged cultivation is the right path."

    "Yes." He affirmed.

    Lan Jue swung his eyes to Tang Xiao. He's been surprised himself to discover how quickly Tang Xiao gained this insight. He knew his Disciple had only broken through to ninth level recently. To have such epiphanies early in the level was immeasurably helpful, a sign of his chances at Paragon.

    For many Adepts, the speed of their cultivation was drastically reduced once they reached ninth level. At that point their bodies were at the limits of what human bodies could endure. The only way was comprehension of the universe, its ebbs and flows.

    But fathoming the secrets of the cosmos is just as hard as it sounded. Luck played a large role.

    Tang Xiao remained in place, beaming at nothing. Then it struck him, how similar it seemed to the Pauper's Arhat. Tang Xiao hadn't just uncover some secret of protogenia. He'd found a dogma. Lan Jue couldn't tell if that was what resonated with his student, but they were similar - Buddhist in nature. It wasn't everything, just a glimpse, but enough to be pleasantly surprising.

    He felt like he deserved to be called the transformer the way these kids were turning out! Pride was clear in his face.

    "Lan Jue." A voice called to him from off to the side. He turned his head to see a blushing face. When he saw her, Lan Jue's face went stiff.

    Tan Lingyun walked over to him. Jin Tao knew when it was time to make his escape, and told Lan Jue he was going to cultivate before trotting off.

    "Professor Tan." Lan Jue's greeting was polite.

    She looked a little conflicted when she saw the look in his eye. She was also a part of Star Division, and in fact was a part of First Division's Alpha Squad. Her combat prowess and ninth level Discipline demanded nothing less. Lately her improvement had also been quick. He could safely say that in the last year she'd learned more than she had in the last half decade.

    To her all of it was thanks to the man standing in front of her.

    His sudden change of status to her had been dizzying. She'd called him cowardly and useless. Then he was the Lei Feng who'd made her heart race. Next he was the drillmaster, and finally a hero.

    When she first learned the truth, she was dumbfounded. How could she have known that someone who looked so pretty and - frankly - delicate, could command so much power?

    During the tournament she was biting her nails right beside all of her students as they watched Lan Jue fight. She cheered him on just as hard, though perhaps not quite so verbally.

    After he'd won the championship, much to their delight, Hua Li dropped another bombshell. He revealed Lan Jue as the hero of Taihua, and subsequently proved Tan Lingyun a total fool. Compared to him she'd contributed a pittance to humanity, he'd even saved her life. For months she continued to abuse him, each time worse than the last.

    Tan Lingyun had been terribly conceited. Regret was not a word in her vocabulary. That was, until recently. Now she regretted her sour temper. She resented it when people called her the Savage Goddess. Maybe if she'd been gentler, thought before she acted, was less direct, then things might have been different.

    She studiously observed Lan Jue during their quest to clean up the Starfields. His capable command and overwhelming strength were often on display. She also noticed the beautiful and intelligent woman at his side.

    She was only one of five women who called her commander 'boss,' each one more impressive than the last. Be it looks or ability, every one of them was her superior. However, their 'boss' was always clear about his feelings.

    When Tan Lingyun wasn't cultivating he was often in her thoughts. However, he always seemed to keep his distance. Unquestioningly, her previous treatment of him was still fresh in his mind too.

    Today had been the first time she'd had an opportunity to approach him, to stand next to him. There was so much she wanted to say, but when she saw that stiff expression cross his face she couldn't get a word out.

    Everything he'd said to Jin Tao, she'd heard. Yes! There were only a limited number of possibilities in one's life, you had to grab them when you can. That was the only way to success, otherwise you were doomed to mediocrity. Only the people who were ready and willing saw them when they came. Who was to say he wasn't her opportunity? But, how could she know if she was ready? How could she know if she could grasp it?

    "Are you alright, Professor Tan?" Lan Jue couldn't help but ask after watching her stare into to space for a minute. It was the first time he'd seen her in any other state besides abject insanity. He could see the helplessness and pain in her eyes. It definitely wasn't like her.

    "I'm fine," she answered, and shook her head. "I was just thinking, you and Qianlin..."

    When her name came up, sadness flashed behind the commander's eyes. His love was on the right track but still hadn't awoken. And all of it was his fault!

    "I love her. I only joined the university for her. She'd hired me as her bodyguard, and being an etiquette teacher was my cover. Who'd have thought things would spin so out of control. Qianlin was injured protecting me, ironically. She's still recovering."

    Tan Lingyun was silent, stunned. She chuckled a little self-admonishing laugh. I never had a shot. He'd already known Qianlin.

    No wonder it always seemed strange when she saw them together. Indeed, how could such a capable main remain single?

    "I hope she recovers quickly and can return to her family." She smiled and nodded pleasantly at him.

    "Thank you." Lan Jue wasn't sure how to respond to this new, gentler Savage Goddess. He sure as hell preferred it to how she used to be, though.

    "How are you? Did you gain any insights?" He asked her.

    But she shook her head. "I tried, but this kind of protogenia doesn't resonate with me. It was helpful but not the path I want to follow."

    If there was any kind of Adept that hated these aliens the most, it was those like Tan Lingyun. Their natural, vigorous Discipline was in direct conflict with the beasts. She drew her powers from nature like they did, but used it to empower combat. She was directly affected by her environment. When she was standing on Taihua her Discipline must have been boosted a full rank. On the other hand these aliens fed off of vitality and corrupted it. Whatever was left behind was cancerous and sick. She found everything about their species particularly loathsome.

    Lan Jue paused in thought for a moment. "You might have another opportunity, perhaps his protogenia will serve you better."

    Tan Lingyun was surprised at the news. "There's going to be another Paragon?"

    Lan Jue nodded. There was pride in his face. A grin spread across Tan Lingyun's.

    "How much better it would have been if I'd met you earlier."

    Lan Jue visibly shivered. "You mean try to break me earlier," he blurted.

    Tan Lingyun's old anger flared. "In your heart, do you really think I'm so nasty?"
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