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Chapter 630: Safe Return

    Chapter 630: Safe Return

    "Yeah, we just escaped the Starfields. Our first move was to get this data to you. Send it to the Eastern government as quickly as you can. We've learned a lot this time." A smirk spread across Lan Jue's face.

    "Alright!" Lan Qing Replied, then cut the connection.

    The data was uploaded to An Lun under the Accountant's direction. When the progress bar hit one hundred percent Lan Jue allowed himself to breathe a sigh of relief. They had succeeded, their scouting mission was over. In the end they were more shaken up than anything. Small wonder for a team of five Paragons. If they'd failed with so much overwhelming firepower behind them, humanity would be lost.

    Zeus-1 sailed toward An Lun as fast as they could to collect the rest of Star Division. There would be more missions for them once the Eastern government analyzed what was gathered. However, before all that they had to bring the vital crystals back and determine how much they'd gained.

    They would give some of these crystals to reliable members of the Eastern government, in order to maximize their profits. As more of these crystals were recovered their worth would decrease. Until then, they could be exchanged with the North and West for essential goods - like battleships. Strength would determine who would be victorious in the fight against the aliens, the East had to keep that in consideration.

    Once the file transfers were complete, Lan Jue allowed himself some personal time. He continued training with the Driver, determined to complete the transformation of their Discipline. Once it was, they could truly say their powers were the stuff of Paragons. Lan Jue wouldn't let his brother get too far ahead.

    At first Lan Jue thought he was comparable to Lan Qing while he and Qianlin were joined, especially with the addition of immortal qi and Captus. Of course, no one could have imagined Lan Qing would break through to Paragon and immediately become a Reflection of Heaven and Earth. It'd filled Lan Jue with happiness, but also a sense of urgency that only deepened the more he learned about the alien menace.

    As an Adept, Lan Jue was among the strongest of them. But when it came to Paragons his strength was a drop in a bucket. It was a deficiency, one he knew he had to correct by sparing no effort or expense on his own progress. If he wanted to help when he was needed, he had to be as strong as the best of humanity.

    If he was alone, Lan Jue knew that becoming as strong as he wanted would be a long process. He would need to achieve at least Nirvana, like the Photographer or the Violet Princess. But he wasn't alone, he had Qianlin by his side. If they could become Paragons together, with Captus and Demortus they could carve bloody swaths through even the strongest of these creatures. It was still possible. After his recultivation, an abrupt rise like his brother's was still in the cards.

    Zeus-1 returned to An Lun without incident, and was greeted at the docking port by Lan Qing. Now that he'd broken through, his standing in the military was entirely different. He was the youngest commander, youngest admiral, and the youngest supreme commander in military history. He could lay claim to all of these records with pride. It also meant he was one of the most powerful men in the Eastern Alliance, and that was before considering his martial and Adept prowess.

    Before Lan Jue and his team left for their scouting mission, the Eastern government had decided to send their Fourth Fleet to An Lun. It was now considered a permanent fixture of the planet, under Lan Qing's direct command. With an entire fleet - nay, a whole planet - under his personal direction, Lan Qing was the most famous commander in the whole history of the East.

    War was on the horizon, no one was running care-free through fields of flowers. The soldiers were well-trained and continued to push themselves. The fleet was equipped with state-of-the-art equipment. Already, Lan Qing had them training with the rest of An Lun's soldiers to make sure they were up to par. There was no question that the Fourth Fleet and An Lun's warriors - as well as Lan Qing himself - would become one of the strongest factions of the Eastern resistance effort.

    The East was comparably weak, and suffered from its own internal political strife. However, compared to the other two Alliances the East was much more unified. No one stood in the way of the government's work to protect themselves from these aliens. Everything they did was to strive for the survival and expansion of the East. Of all the Alliances the East had been the first to react to the threat, and were the quickest in making the necessary changes. After publishing their findings on the exuvium process, flocks of talented individuals had begun to immigrate into the East, searching for opportunity. Of course, this was done privately.

    "Brother." When he saw Lan Qing, Lan Jue felt his pride in victory flush through him. His brother had spent the days after his breakthrough perfecting himself, smoothing the rough edges of his dharma. He was calmer, and the waves of erratic energy were gone. He looked and felt like any normal man, entirely ordinary. It was a potent example of his abilities. In so short a time he was able to reign in the raging tides of protogenia and bring them under his control. Such tremendous talent!

    Lan Jue wasn't the only one to notice it. The Pauper, Wine Master, and Clockmaker saw it as well. Inwardly the Wine Master sighed. He was an old Paragon, and even still the gap between him and Lan Qing was vast beyond measure. The young commander may not have had the experience he possessed, but he was like a child when it came to comprehension.

    "It's good you're back. The information you brought back is priceless." Lan Qing nodded at his brother before offering his regards to the Paragons.

    Jue Di was the picture of calm, standing tall with his hands clasped at the small of his back. However, his eyes said he was thinking about something.

    "Father!" Lan Qing walked over to stand in front of Jue Di.

    He nodded in greeting. When he spoke, his voice was full of satisfaction. "Not bad, it looks like you've brought your powers under control. Keep striving. I may have recommended your dharma for less than savory reasons, but it is one of the most potent. When you learn to communicate with heaven and earth, when you achieve Nirvana, it will serve you well. Perhaps one day you'll discover the long-lost Western Paradise."

    Lan Jue interjected. "Don't you want grandchildren? Are you trying to make my brother a monk?"

    "Dharma isn't faith," Jue Di said in irritation. "Monk my ass. You have as many pretty girls crowding around you as clouds in the sky, but you don't introduce any to your brother. I've never troubled you over that, yet you have the gall to try and call me out?"

    Lan Jue just shrugged. "His standards are too high, what am I supposed to do?"

    This earned a glare from Lan Qing. "You must be tired. Rest. I have everything prepared."

    In reality, everyone had had ample time to rest on the trip back to An Lun. However mentally, they could only begin to relax once they were back on the base. The Wine Master, Clockmaker and the other Paragons had been especially harried to say nothing of the team's commander. But Lan Jue could not rest, and once he got back to his room he summoned the Bartender and Coffee Master to make their report on the Division's training.

    He was surprised to learn that his soldiers took to An Lun's environment quickly. They worked very well with his brother's Bloodiron Khans and had already undergone two expansive joint military exercises. Both times Star Division had emerged victorious. If it had been a real fight, it would have been difficult to overcome the Khan's superior training and teamwork. On the other hand, Star Division's advantages were obvious. Firstly was their individual skill. There were over eighty ninth level Adepts in the Division, and each one could take out a squad of Khans. They weren't as unified as their brothers in arms, but don't forget that their experienced was forged in the fires of ruined pirate bases.

    From the beginning, Lan Jue had trained his people like a pirate fighting force. Ten people to a squad was the best organization to play off of their individual strengths.

    So it was that as a traditional military organization, they weren't as structured as most, however it did come with a unique set of advantages. Squad mates worked well together as a solitary fighting force. Adepts that made up the Division were among the best the East had to offer and were organized well so that each soldier supplemented the others of their team. It wasn't perfect, but there were improvements too. Each squad was as disciplined as an army, as harmonious as a family. Whenever they were together, a squad's first concern was how to make the team stronger. Their competition was their brothers and sisters in other squads.
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