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Chapter 622: Teleport Base

    Chapter 622: Teleport Base

    Lan Jue laughed. "Enough of that, I'm just one person. I rely on the people around me."

    The Wine Master rejoined. "What have you thought up, then?"

    "Understanding," he said. "That's our greatest deficit right now. Right now they know a lot more about us than we do about them. Think about it, you remember the Violet Princess? To take on human form they must have studied the DNA of humans, understood its complexities. She even learned human speech. Just this proves how far behind we are."

    The Wine Master nodded his agreement. "We're too spread out, humanities numbers are in the billions. We've colonized planets in dozens of star systems. It's impossible to keep the aliens from infiltrating our worlds. However, I expect that your Violet Princess was one of their leaders. If any of these things can look like us, we might as well not bother to fight. The war is already lost, we should just flee."

    Lan Jue sighed. "My only hope is that they don't suddenly appear in the Eastern Alliance."

    The Wine Master frowned. "Humanity as a species is struggling for survival. Aren't you being selfish?"

    He chuckled. "I never said I wasn't!"

    The Wine Master couldn't help but smirk as well. "I suppose that makes me selfish, too."

    However, Lan Jue's smile was short lived. "Actually I'm anxious. The Clairvoyant's dying vision wasn't random or contrived. From what we've witnessed these things are strong, but I don't think that's the whole story. If this is all they got, I haven't seen 'species threatening power' yet."

    The Wine Master replied with a bitter nod. "Indeed, I worry about this as well. That's why I chose to come with you. You need sufficient ability if you want good information."

    But Lan Jue's lips curled down in a frown. "Oh come on. If the Clockmaker had stayed home, would you have come?"

    The Paragon chuckled. "This is what they call 'killing two birds with one stone.'" His mood had been quite good over the last few days, since his relationship with the Clockmaker was growing closer. To him it was like a blessing from heaven.

    Lan Jue answered. "Wait until we get closer to the center. I have a feeling we'll really need all of your help then. 'Seek not accomplishments, but freedom from faults. 1.' We'll need to do our best to avoid a fight. Guoguo has gotten very good at mimicking the pulses, hopefully that'll be enough."

    The Wine Master looked through the window to the scenery outside. "This planet isn't bad, good for staying out of sight. What if we made this a forward scouting base? So long as the aliens are in the Starfields, we can use this as a center of operations."

    Lan Jue paused. "A base point? I don't think there's any point! If we're caught out there they'll just follow us back. Plus, who's to say we can get back here? Nothing stays the same out here, routes change. As this planet drifts through the system and the aliens continue to wreak havoc, who knows how the landscape will change."

    An enigmatic grin split the older man's face. "Of course it's not that simple. I'm talking about its immediate establishment as a launch point. I can set a rune array here."

    Lan Jue's eyes lit up. "A teleportation array? But, how far is its limit?"

    "That depends on how much is put into it," the Wine Master explained. "The information you brought back on your last mission was vital for the Alliance, and it proved the worth of Star Division. I used this opportunity to request resources from parliament. I can set up a long distance array here with what we were given, but it will take ten days. It requires ten s-ranked interspatial power gems, and an addition one with each use. However, it will be stronger enough to transfer us out of the Starfields completely. So long as we remain within range, we can flee at the first sign of danger right back here."

    The Wine Master spoke calmly as though discussing the weather, while Lan Jue stared at him with wide eyes. "Since when have you been able to this?"

    The Wine Master chuckled. "Just me? I can't, but with my aunt here we can manage together."

    Lan Jue a deep breath. The Wine Master's suggestion was promising safety, as well as an excellent springboard to continue their mission. Having a succor point would bring the danger way down, and their flexibility way up.

    Indeed, an s-ranked gem for each use was a steep price, but worthy. The information and vital crystals they obtained would more than make up for them.

    "What are we waiting for? We've got work to do!" Lan Jue said, his way of agreeing with the idea. There was nothing better for the success of their mission than establishing the teleport array. It'll be here for a long while after, too, in case they needed it.

    "Oh, right, I have to ask - have much can you transfer?" Lan Jue asked.

    "Zeus-1 will be no problem," he said. "If it was Majesty, we would need three times the resources but it would also be possible. But if we did have to transfer something of that scale, it would be very taxing for my aunt and I. We would need a long time to recover."

    Lan Jue shook his head. "We won't need anything the likes of Majesty teleported. Zeus-1 will more than serve. You know, I suddenly had an idea that'll make us all rich."

    The Wine Master grumbled in annoyance. "Since when did you get so interested in making money? You've become addicted to the life of a pirate."

    Lan Jue laughed. "Isn't war just a grab for cash and resources? Don't you still owe me for all the power gems I brought back from the North? Can anyone live without money? Once your array is set up our safety is pretty much guaranteed, we can safely go right to the galaxy's center and get as much intelligence as we need. All of you Paragons together, if you pull out all the stops, could eradicated an untold number of these things - and thus gain a whole bunch of vital crystals. These crystals are one of the most valuable resources ever discovered. After all, what else is out there that can promise a longer life? According to the Keeper and Bookworm, a man can stay young forever with enough of them."

    The Wine Master paused. He hadn't thought about it that way. The transportation array was for safety and scouting, but what Lan Jue was saying made sense. They thin the heard and gather the precious crystals, a win-win for humanity. Why pass up an opportunity to grow rich doing the right thing?

    The Wine Master could help but nod at the logic of it. "It certainly seems possible. Let's talk more about it when the array is completed."

    "Alright!" Lan Jue replied. Lan Jue's twinkling eyes met the Wine Master's, and they shared an unspoken thought in that gaze. If this worked out, it wasn't just good for the Avenue. It was a chance to lift the whole Eastern Alliance above its competition!

    Humanity's progress was built on population, talent, wealth, and food. The most important was people, and if you had talented people than you had it all.

    Life death, sickness and health, it was the natural way of the universe. Be they beggar or Paragon, everyone feared death. So one could imagine how enticing the exuvium process was. Obviously the continued existence of humanity was important, but the real underlying drive to find these planets for the West and North, were these crystals! You'd never hear it is the news, but the Alliances had begun to compete for them the moment the universe knew of their existence.

    Skyfire Avenue was likely the most richly endowed in crystals at present, including the very first one Lan Jue got from Taihua. It was responsible for what they knew about the crystals, and ultimately the reason why the East was leading the research by more than a year. The things that could be accomplished in a year were many, not least of which was success in extending both the Booker and the Keeper's lives. The Bookworm used part of it to break through to Paragon.

    A single vital crystal enabled all of that. So, imagine what a warehouse full could do for the East. The decision was made, they were no longer here to rest for a while. They had an array to build.

    Lan Jue denied the Driver's request to proceed with the scouting mission on the grounds of safety. Once the protection of the array was behind them, they would continue.

    Over the next ten days the two of them continued to train yin-yang lightning. The Wine Master was kept busy constructing the array with the help of the Clockmaker and Luo Xianni.

    Lan Jue and the Driver practiced under the eye of Jue Di. With his guidance their progress felt like a thousand miles a day. Lan Jue continued to do all his cultivation joined with Qianlin. He shared the benefits of hi training with her, including the immortal qi gained from the thunder essence.

    Lan Jue could sense that Qianlin's consciousness was slowly improving, day by day. Every now and again they paused so the Driver could meditate on what they learned. When he did, Lan Jue and Qianlin practiced the blade. Her swordsmanship was coming along quite well. In fact, everything looked to be on an upward trend. Her total recovery was only a matter of time.

    After ten days of sporadic training, both Lan Jue and the Driver saw incredible changes to their Disciplines. Lan Jue's energies were about fifty percent transformed, thirty percent for the Driver.

    1. I believe this is a quote from Hu Yaobang, Chinese Chairman from 1981-1982. Pretty interesting story if Wikipedia is to be believed
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