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Chapter 792: Confidence, Resolve

    Chapter 792: Confidence, Resolve

    Admiration for Lan Qing and his abilities filled Kang Hui. Not only had he brought them victory, he restored humanity's long-lost confidence! Through action he proved to everyone that their enemy was not invincible.

    What's more, it was the first time Kang Hui had seen such cooperation among Bastions before. Cooperation he didn't know was possible. Without Middle Heaven's cover Tyrannosaurus and Poseidon wouldn't have been able to conceal their preparations from the enemy. What's more, they never would have been able to put down so many aliens in the crossfire.

    It was amazing to think that the East never had enough bastions for this commander to employ until now! How did he even think up this plan? Never in the history of humanity had there been a battle where cooperation on this level was necessary, leaving Lan Qing no precedent to lean upon. The bastions were so strong on their own there had previously been no need to think beyond dispatching one into a fight. Lan Qing showed them what they could do if they worked together.

    Kang Hui believed that the experience of this battle had opened his eyes. If he had to describe Lan Qing's fighting style, he could only think of the ancient Chinese phrase; inscrutable as the spirits. Lan Qing's tactics didn't adhere to a single set of rules - sometimes it was radical, sometimes it was conservative. Sometimes he charged the enemy front lines, sometimes he appeared when he was least expected. He treated the battlefield like a chessboard, and he knew every maneuver ten moves in advance.

    The aliens had been routed. They weren't even fleeing to Angel, instead opting to abscond to farther harbors. They had other planets they could run to, but now humanity had broken their defensive encirclement and gained a foothold.

    It was the first, crucial step. Whether what came next was good or bad, at least they'd won one victory and made the alien creatures hurt.

    Next they were faced with recovering Angel and constructing an operating base. Now that they were in the lion's den, there was no going back.

    Despite their impressive triumph the aliens were not in an inferior position. They had created conditions that left humanity unwilling to blindly proceed, up to and including the possibility of facing the alien home worlds.

    Today's success was only the beginning.

    Still, the significant of it was enormous. The human fighters were filled with confidence and momentum, morale ran high. For soldiers facing such overwhelming odds, the importance of high spirits was evident.

    The twelve fleets had spread out into surrounding space. Eight of them were faced outward to stand guard against approaching foes. The three bastions remained in the center, maintaining triangle formation as they moved in on Angel. When they got within range they stopped, and their entourage formed up in an impenetrable wall of deadly technology.

    The ground assault team had long been ready, awaiting deployment from Middle Heaven. Over five hundred assault ships were dispatched and burned their engines for Angel. Aboard these ships was more than thirty thousand troops, a combination of fighters from all three factions. Among them was the universally lauded Star Division.

    Majesty led the ships to the planet's surface, the vessels in its wake glittering in the light of the distant sun. Two hundred battleships flanked them, serving as an escort in the event of alien attack. Of course, the chances of that were low.

    The aliens had not only fled nearby space, but Angel's surface as well. They had given up the planet for lost, going to extreme length simply to ensure their own survival.

    An encrypted single hailed Majesty. It was connected, and Lan Jue's face appeared on the screen. A cheer rose through the ship. Before the operation they knew Lan Jue was infiltrating Angel before their arrival.

    "Boss, how are things on your end?" Su Xiaosu's face was red - not from embarrassment, but form excitement. They'd all watched the fight from screens within the belly of Middle Heaven. After watching the creatures flee for their lives, the soldiers were elated.

    Lan Jue smiled. "We've taken care of the progenitor, everything's fine. Land at the coordinates we gave you and proceed with the mission. It's an arduous one; the aliens have retreated, but they left behind many infected areas and mutated humans. Be cautious, some of them may explode on contact, and they're dangerous fighters. Make sure you let our allies know."

    "Aye, aye!" Xiaosu immediately relayed the report to the other officers.

    It seemed as though their mission would be somewhat more relaxed than they anticipated. No powerful aliens remained to impede them.

    "Boss, did you break through? The light we saw on the planet, was that..." She let her question trail off. Tang Xiao, Tang Mi and Jin Tao had gathered around the monitor. They were all invested in the success of their commander.

    Lan Jue nodded.

    Another cheer burst from the crowd. They'd been waiting for this day for a long time. Ever since Lan Qing's breakthrough they had been waiting for Lan Jue to do the same. This made him the youngest Paragon ever. His compatriots Hua Li and Chu Cheng had also advanced, making Lan Jue the last of his crew to succeed.

    At the time it had troubled them, since they knew their teacher was a prideful man. For everyone around him to become Paragons while he did not must have been difficult, they surmised, but they didn't dare ask him about it. And then, before the operation began, Lan Jue had told them of his imminent breakthrough. They were ecstatic, overjoyed for their teacher's future success.

    A smirk split Lan Jue's lip, and an ice-cold glint flit across his eyes. "We'll talk more about it when the fight's over. Be careful."

    A familiar face appeared on Lan Jue's screen, the Savage Goddess - Tan Lingyun. The two of them stared at one another.

    He broke through? He was a Paragon? Still so young, it was hard to believe! He was Lei Feng, the same man even without the mask - he was that man!

    She took a deep breath, an attempt to get herself under control. She turned her face away. Tan Lingyun knew this man old never be hers. It was true whether or not he wore the mask.

    Lan Jue cut the connection, then turned around the survey everything around them.

    He stood in the center of the stadium they'd visited during the scouting trip. Not aliens were gone, for the beasts created by the progenitor which thrived on its corruption had nowhere to go. Without their master the creatures were mindless, out of control. Eventually they withered and died. However, the mutated humans remained.

    When they saw Lan Jue and the others, they raced ahead to try and rip them apart. There was no time to lose, these poor souls could explode at any moment, and were dangerously feral.

    The plight of these innocents dampened everyone's spirits. If they found survivors in the midst of their rampage, the results would be unthinkable. Every moment that passed there was the possibility that the survivors were being picked off.

    However in their flight to this place they had performed some quick checks. Up to now they had found no one that had been spared the mutation. Nearly if not all remaining humans had been changed into mindless beasts by the progenitor's poison touch. Scores and scores of them had been left behind.

    Luo Xianni used her interdimensional abilities to freeze the ones in the stadium. However that only stopped them from attacking, their sickness remained.

    The Keeper's research had reached an impasse. Human genetics was mysterious, and returning them to normal would take time. Nor could they remain sealed in Luo Xianni's powers, that way led to death. What's more there were more of them than they could count, thousands upon thousands just on a single planet. It was possible their numbers could reach into the hundreds of millions, if not higher. This posed a real problem.

    "Don't think on it too much. Rest, you just broke through. You don't have time to solidify your powers completely, but you can't continue fighting with an unstable base." Luo Xianni gently patted his shoulder.

    "Yeah." Lan Jue replied. He took her advice and removed himself to one of the observation platforms on the arena. He found a quiet corner, but did not immediately meditate. A strange look lived behind his eyes, revealing concern.

    Indeed he was hesitant, for what he was about to see could affect him all the rest of his life. Among his reasons for wanting to break through, one of the most important was returning his love to consciousness. Yet now that the time had come he was filled with anxiety.

    He and Qianlin had trained together, grown together. Now they had broken through as one and risen to extraordinary heights right from the start. So far, everything had gone right...
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