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Chapter 793: Idiot

    Chapter 793: Idiot

    What Lan Jue discovered during their breakthrough was a sudden and intense emotional and psychic shift in Qianlin. He reacted by fusing the two of them into one. Clearly the breakthrough had had an effect on her, perhaps she even recovered her consciousness. But there was a chance she didn't, or even gotten worse. In that event he didn't dare release Qianlin into perilous surroundings. If it was revealed she wasn't better it would influence everyone, affecting their mission.

    Humanity had won an important victory, but what would he do with Qianlin? Would she remember anything about how they got here? Moreover, he had barely spoken with her since learning the truth about her and Hera. This made things far more complicated.

    Now wasn't the time to help her remember. Nor was it the time to discuss their relationship. Nothing was more important than winning this war against the aliens. And yet, if he didn't help her through this period she couldn't fully recover, and the Harmonious Swords would be inaccessible! Without cooperation between them, he feared they wouldn't stand a chance against the alien home worlds.

    Taking a deep breath, Lan Jue's expression finally became resolute. Whatever the result, he had to face it. He couldn't run from the truth.

    A light flashed in his eyes, and gradually a lithe figure emerged from behind him. The figure was white as snow as it separated from his body. It was Qianlin, but in contrast to before when she separated without clothes, this time she wore the robes that had concealed her during their breakthrough. The flowing gowns made her look all the more like an angel, stunning in her beauty.

    He didn't know why, but for a moment Lan Jue hoped she hadn't recovered her memory. Yet he did know, he knew that he feared how she would react to him if she knew it all. Her reaction to the whole truth was important.

    They cooperated well now, and the Harmonious Sword technique they'd learned together showed that. What would happen when she got better?

    Zhou Qianlin stood there silently. She seemed no different other than the potent waves of energy that pulsed from her. All was just as it had been before their breakthrough. It didn't work? Her consciousness had not returned? A sense of loss, of pain, filled Lan Jue.

    "Qianlin," he softly pleaded.

    Her eyes slid toward him, calm and indifferent. Nothing different.

    Reaching out with his perception he sensed no changes in mood. The burst of psychic energy he'd experienced when they became Paragon had given way to the same steadfast calm as before. A calm that broke his heart.

    As they stared at one another moisture gathered in Lan Jue's eyes. His hopes were gone, like a popped bubble. What he'd strived so hard for had not come to pass.

    It was small consolation that he and Qianlin could continue to use the Harmonious Swords. A small and unsatisfactory comfort.

    He took a deep breath and calmed his aching heart. He stepped forward and gently pulled her into his embrace. She was surrounded by a sweet fragrance he couldn't put his finger on, comforting and gentle. As he held her he felt the swirling energy within him, vestiges of protogenic power still agitated by his breakthrough. They suddenly grew calm.

    It was the influence of the Queen of Heaven, he suspected, helping to stabilize their respective abilities after reaching Paragon. He would rather have her mind returned.

    "I'm so sorry I couldn't bring you back, Qianlin. It breaks my heart, did you know? All of this is my fault - I did this to you. But don't worry, I'll be by your side forever. Only you are my wife. Hera is gone, and you are all that remains. I'll be with you until the day we pass, caring for you, loving you. When I come to the end of my life, I'll help you pass too. You and I will leave this universe together, so that no one can harm you to get back at me. Qianlin, I will love you no matter what condition you're in."

    His body shook with silent sobs. The day he'd looked forward to for so long had not come, and his love was still lost behind a haze. The pain it caused him was unspeakable.

    Qianlin's hands had risen and encircled his neck, unnoticed during his vows. Her face rested against his shoulder.

    "Do you really want a woman who lies to you?" A soft, somewhat hoarse voice answered him.

    "I do, of course I do. You never deceived me, it was nothing but a white lie. After the Clairvoyant explained everything to me I just needed to straighten out my thinking. I held Hera's love close, and I do the same now for you. You are not her substitute, not -" Lan Jue spoke excitedly, obstinately swearing his love when all of a sudden he stopped. His body straightened and he held Qianlin out at arm's length so he could see her face.

    Qianlin stared back at him with a dull expression. There was no change.

    "Am I hearing things? That wasn't her just now?" Lan Jue stood, confused. He grinned sheepishly. "Maybe I miss her too much."

    "Idiot!"Qianlin suddenly spat, then jumped forward to wrap her arms around him. She pressed her lips to his in a desperate kiss.

    As they lips touched Lan Jue felt her chilly, trembling flesh. It was followed by a surge of something inexplicable. All of a sudden his world was turned on its head. His mind went blank.

    She kissed him passionately, venting all of the emotion that had been bottled up for so long.

    In her mind the words he'd said reverberated over and over. When I come to the end of my life, I'll help you pass too. You and I will leave this universe together, so that no one can harm you to get back at me.

    They weren't beautiful prose, but the sentiment filled her with warmth.

    Lan Jue eventually recovered from his stupor. He no longer passively allowed her to kiss him. Instead he channeled all of the love, the loss, the pain and expectation into the kiss. He embraced her with all the strength of his affection, holding nothing back.

    This time they didn't merge. They remained two people, filled with love for one another.

    All the unhappiness, misunderstandings, and misgivings were dissolved with this kiss. Their bodies did not combine but in this moment their hearts were as one. Everything they had gone through was absolved as this singular, heart-bursting moment arrived.

    After an indeterminate period of time a cough interrupted the two lovers.

    Luo Xianni looked at the two of them with a faint smile on her face. "Is this how you young folks 'stabilize your domains' these days?"

    Qianlin dropped her reddening face, suddenly unable to meet the woman's eyes.

    A blush also crept into Lan Jue's cheeks. Yet he never let Qianlin go, as though he were afraid that if he did she would disappear.

    "My domain is stable, mother." He said awkwardly.

    "That's emotional stability," Luo Xianni chided. "Fine, I won't bother you two. You two go on - ey?" She stopped mid-sentence, and in a flash was at Qianlin's side.

    Lan Jue jumped. "Mother, what is it?"

    Qianlin lifted her head. Despite her pale cheeks painted red with embarrassment, her beauty was still breathtaking.

    "Your aura...? This is..." Luo Xianni stared at Qianlin as though deep in thought. She muttered the words.

    Lan Jue confirmed. "I felt it, too. Qianlin's aura is especially gentle, I felt it when we held each other. When I said my domain is stable, it was because the protogenia within me reacted to her aura. She calmed it, and as far as I can remember from father, that means it's stable."

    Luo Xianni nodded. "Just so, your protogenia is being released in steady waves. It's incredible. I've never seen anything like this, arising from the Queen of Heaven Discipline ascending to Paragon. There probably never has been a Queen of Heaven Paragon before. Child, can you sense any new powers?"

    Qianlin answered in somewhat of a dazed tone. "I'm not sure." After breaking through she had merged immediately with Lan Jue. When they separated her mind was on other things. She hadn't even thought about exploring her newfound strength yet! All she knew was that she was stronger, that she seemed able to sense all the world around her. Other than this, nothing seemed different.

    But at Luo Xianni's suggestion she began to feel it, a subtle difference from who she used to be. A rippling wave of protogenia spread from her.

    Lan Jue and Luo Xianni were also Paragons, and she could feel the protogenia that came from them. However when their powers interacted with her own they softened. She didn't know how or why, but all their energy seemed to assimilate as they mingled together.
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