Chapter 751: We Have to Go

    Chapter 751: We Have to Go

    Lan Jue looked at his brother. "Right now we can only think about ourselves. The Pharmacist has said that if we can recover Ultus and lay out the Banishing Strategy, we have a chance to eliminate the alien threat. We faced with the unavoidable, your only choice is to face it head on."

    Lan Qin responded. "We'll go back. We'll discuss it after we're safely in the East." He had his own pressures to consider.

    The East had worries just like the North did. What were they to do if the enemy showed up in the middle of their alliance? Middle Heaven, the strength of the East, was absent along with five interstellar fleets. It was imperative that they returned to defend their territory as soon as possible.

    Thus did the first joint military offensive of the human alliance end. Middle Heaven led the Eastern delegation back toward Skyfire. No one was in a jubilant mood. The aliens' cunning and cruelty were giving them the advantage. Their destruction was beginning to seem inevitable. Under constant attack, it seemed only a matter of time before humanity was reaped for their DNA.

    Once the Eastern government received Lan Qing's request for vigilance, they set about disseminating it at once. Planets quickly began returning reports as they searched for any sign of the alien planets. Thankfully, so far there was no sign the monsters had moved into Eastern territory. They appear to have dodged the proverbial bullet once again.

    However it meant all they could do was wait for the aliens to reemerge. Their history of clever and vicious determination meant they would certainly pick the most suitable place to show up again and strike at humanity. Once they knew more they could build a strategy.

    Lan Jue didn't converse much with his brother on the return trip. He understood that he wouldn't be much help in the realm of strategy and tactics. Instead, he returned to Zeus-1 and set about cultivating with Zhou Qianlin. It was still important to consolidate everything they had acquired so they could succeed with their breakthroughs as soon as possible. Only once they did would the power of the Harmonious Swords be fully available to them. That was how he could help his brother.


    Three days later.

    "Lan Jue, come see me." Lan Jue could hear the hurry in his brother's voice. It was a rare quality to hear from Lan Qing.

    He must have important news, Lan Jue thought, and he suspected he knew what it was. He stopped cultivating and left for the Admiral's office. He didn't bother asking for more information over the communicator. His brother would have explained if it was something he could discuss from afar. It was important enough for him to call Lan Jue over for a face-to-face talk.

    When Lan Jue arrived there were several others in the office; his father, mother, and the Wine Master. None of them bore pleasant expressions, only Lan Qing maintained a measure of inscrutable composure. However, the chill in his demeanor was telling.

    "Did you find them?" Lan Jue asked. He knew the answer, it was the only reason they would be reacting this way.

    Lan Qing nodded.

    Lan Jue's next question was delivered with some anxiety. "In our Alliance?"

    "No," came Lan Qing's answer. "They're in the West."

    Although he knew he shouldn't, Lan Jue was relieved when he heard. It wasn't the East, they were protected for now.

    Lan Qing heaved a sigh, then continued. "Two days ago the West's bastions were ambushed while returning home. Both were destroyed by the alien planets. Only a few of their fastest ships managed to escape."

    "What?" Lan Jue gasped. Lan Jue had known the news wouldn't be good. He hadn't expected this.

    The West had only three bastions. One of them had been taken by Poseidon Group and brought to the East. The only two they had remaining were now gone. What did it mean? It meant the West no longer had the ability to protect itself!

    The whole Alliance was at the mercy of these terrible interstellar predators.

    A creeping dread filled Lan Jue's heart. What if the aliens had been waiting for them instead? What would have happened then? They wouldn't have fared any better than the West, and Middle Heaven would have fallen at the enemy's hands. Although Lan Jue liked to believe that they would have made them pay dearly.

    "The North has also been informed of what's happened. Our enemy's target is undoubtedly the Western Alliance - their most populated area."

    "Europa." Lan Jue blurted.

    Lan Qing nodded. "That's most likely. We've told the West we're going there now."

    Lan Jue's heart skipped a beat and he scowled. "Did they agree?"

    "Whether they agree or not, I'm going," Lan Qing said resolutely. "If the West falls, who's next? It won't be the North, the strongest Alliance. It'll be us. And, I suspect, they'll use the hesitation they suspect we must be feeling to undergo their evolution. It won't take them long, and once they do what will our resistance mean to gods? So, no matter what the West thinks, we have to go."

    Jue Di spoke up. "I agree. The aliens have proven adept at psychological warfare. We have to fight toughness with toughness. If they aren't afraid, they'll just keep racking up victories. Their greatest advantage is their ability to teleport, but Xiao Qing and I agree they won't be using that ability in the near future. It must have cost them about as much as we suspect."

    "What about this, dad," Lan Jue offered. "They spent a lot of energy, but they must have gathered a lot from the four planets they conquered as well. That might allow them to teleport again. If that's the case they can just do exactly what they did before."

    Jue Di shook his head. "It isn't that easy. If recovering life essence was so easy would I have the troubles that constrain my powers? I've had time to carefully study the paragon-level vital crystal you recovered. It's remarkably similar to a human's Core. Once it reaches a certain level it becomes very difficult to simply support it by normal means. Teleportation requires their life force to galvanize the energy and complete the process. Creatures like the one you killed on Monteux can restore life essence, but the situation must be different for the alien home worlds. Even though they did consume four planets' worth of energy, it will take time to convert it into power they can use. I don't think I'm wrong in this."

    Lan Jue was suddenly reminded of something the Pharmacist had told him. He nodded. "Then teleportation is no longer an option for them. If we track them down they'll have no choice but to fight."

    "Just so. Of course we'll need more intelligence before we make a decision," Jue Di cautioned.

    Lan Qing cut in. "We aren't going in for a direct confrontation. First we need to confirm what they're up to, and what condition they're in. If we can be sure they're in the process of evolution, then we must attack right away and thus destroy them."

    "Does the North have anything to say?" Lan Jue asked.

    Lan Qing calmly replied. "I've already alerted the Northern congress, Admiral Kang Hui and his Majesty the Terminator. Right now things are not going well in the North."

    Lan Jue smiled bitterly. "I can imagine. The North has suffered terribly and they'll want all their strength centered on Luo. They have a reason to be scared. If the aliens return to Luo once they can teleport again, it would likely mean the end of their alliance."

    Lan Qing's iron facade broke, revealing a brief glimpse of helplessness. "So it seems unlikely we'll be able to count on the North's help. We have only ourselves. We've also brought the majority of our power already - the other two bastions are protecting Skyfire. It was difficult to convince our parliament to let us make this excursion. For the moment the only ones to fully endorse the decision is Poseidon Group."

    Lan Jue blinked. "So the Poseidon-class Bastion will join us as support?"

    Lan Qing nodded. "A-Li's proposal. If what he said wasn't an exaggeration, then Poseidon should be just as tough as Terminator was. That will help us quite a lot."

    Lan Jue nodded. "If the enemy is trying to evolve then it's definitely the time to go all out. I support your decision, let's do it. I refuse to helplessly wait for death to come knocking. The West..."

    He trailed off, his face going dark. Lan Jue had no love for the West, but their people were innocent! They were all part of the human family. Pulling the star map up in his mind he could recall eight planets in the vicinity of Europa. They were arranged in a circle and served as protectors for Europa in the interior.
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