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Chapter 868: I’m Sorry, Boss

    Chapter 868: I'm Sorry, Boss

    "Xiuxiu!"

    Lan Jue cried out and lurched forward. The press of enemy protogenia had eased enough for some measure of his power to spread out. He dropped Jun'er's hand and reached out for Xiuxiu.

    His heart sank the moment he touched her. There was hardly any trace of vitality left.

    Reinforcements had arrived, only a moment too late. The pale pink light that surrounded them  was from the Photographer, fighting against the pressure of the aliens' Domain.

    She did not come alone. The Terminator had placed his enormous girth between them and their attackers while the Epochrion and the Wine Master manipulated the flows of space-time. All of humanity's Paragons were here in a unified defense.

    Lan Jue could sense a hideous, murderous aura wash over them. The Pharmacist - they must have sensed something was amiss.

    "Boss..." Xiuxiu's soft voice cut through the din. She sounded weak, different. Her eyes never left Lan Jue's face.

    He held onto her limp body, kneeling beside her. "Xiuxiu, why would you do something so stupid..." He still wasn't sure what had happened.

    The Violet Prince had been on him, inches from landing a blow. He couldn't have simply given up his chance to cut Lan Jue down. Xiuxiu was closest - she must have used her piercing Discipline to cut through the Prince's Domain and use her own body to block the attack.

    She was a ninth level Adept, powerful and talented. However, in the face of an Infinite-level beast like the Prince she was no more dangerous than a normal human. Were it not for the timely intervention of the other Paragons, Xiuxiu would have been utterly destroyed.

    "How could you be so stupid?!" Lan Jue's eyes were filling with tears. He knew how potent the Creation and Destruction Domain was. There was no way to save Xiuxiu's rapidly fleeting life. Even the mighty immortals of old couldn't rescue her.

    Tears carved two glittering rivulets down Xiuxiu's cheeks. Her eyes were cloudy and unfocused but were kept trained on Lan Jue.

    "Why is it so dark? Boss? It's dark. I can't see you... I want to see you." She gripped his arm with what little strength was left to her.

    Lan Jue took her hand and squeezed it tight. She squeezed back. "Boss, don't feel bad. I don't deserve it. Maybe this is for the best, it's worth it to die for you. I'm sorry boss, I have to ask your forgiveness. I'll repent in the next world, I'll pray for you. Boss... live happily..."

    She gasped the last sentence, and suddenly Lan Jue felt her hand grow heavy. Her body went stiff as a faint violet light began to emerge from her skin. Gradually her form dissolved into motes of violet light, and then she was gone.

    Lan Jue tried desperately to gather the motes as they floated away, to no avail. He wanted to force her body to stay. Instead her life force was devoured by these heartless monsters, and nothing remained of his childhood friend. Nothing but a faint sense of sentiment, sorrow, and regret.

    Lan Jue's whole body shook.

    Xiuxiu had been by his side since they were small. They'd grown up together. No one - not Hera, not Qianlin, not even Lan Qing - no one was with him longer. He'd turned her affections down more than once, but not because he didn't like her. She was like a sister to him!

    As he struggled to figure out how to urge the Amazons to lead their own lives, he knew Xiuxiu would be the biggest worry. Her mannerisms were always soft, but inside Xiuxiu was more stubborn than any of the others. No one could change her mind of she firmly believed something.

    He'd struggled to find a solution ever since Xiuxiu began to show signs of attachment. Never was an answer forthcoming. The other girls were fond of him, too, but none were around as long as Xiuxiu. She'd been raised by Jue Di as Lan Jue's maidservant, to stay by his side always but not necessarily as his wife.

    Xiuxiu was younger than Lan Jue by a few years. They grew up and trained together. Ever since then Lan Jue had developed a familial kinship with her. So, although he knew it was wrong to not flatly refuse her advances, he couldn't bear to hurt the girl - woman - who had dedicated her life to him

    He never thought it would end this way, it was the only thing he could think about. Xiuxiu was dead. She died saving his life. He couldn't shake the image of her eyes as she looked at him. She'd loved him until the light faded away and the darkness took her.

    An indescribable pain tore through every fiber of his being. It was his heart breaking, no less devastating than the day Hera died.

    Xiuxiu was dead. Dead!

    "A-Jue, snap out of it!" A pleading shout pulled him from the state of shock. His head shot up, and his red eyes narrowed into angry slits.

    "Bastard!" He roared. Like a feral beast he hurled himself at the Violent Prince.

    Chaos prevailed. Jun'er had had the forethought to use one of her most potent abilities to separate the fighters from Middle Heaven. The ferocity of their exchange could easily rip the bastion apart from the inside. But she was just a child, and even with the help of the Eye of Tomorrow she couldn't protect them for long.

    Ten Paragons were desperately fighting for their lives. Nearby, the Pharmacist was guarding the door and blocking two more Nirvana-level aliens from entering.

    Lan Qing had not appeared. He was likely busy absorbing Ultus' inheritance.

    The aliens had chosen the perfect time to attack - besieging the stronghold to destroy the reinforcements [1. A military tactic wherein the attacker lays siege to an important positions defenders are unwilling to give up. The defenders are forced to call for reinforcements, who thus fall into ambushes laid by the attackers. Now the defenders are without reinforcements against a powerfully positioned enemy force. Here the humans can't give up Middle Heaven so all the Paragons have to join in to defend it. The aliens can then pick off the Paragons and leave the humans weak.]. The humans were short Lan Qing's might and guidance, and were forced to protect him and the ship.

    If Xiuxiu had not taken the blow meant for Lan Jue, he would have been seriously injured or even killed. Without the Harmonious Swords humanity's ability to fight back would be severely impaired.

    Captus exploded with an intense red light as Lan Jue rushed forward, bringing Captus down on his enemy like a hammer. Qianlin remained by his side, but no matter how much she tried she found she couldn't combine her powers to his. In this moment there was no love in his heart, only hatred.

    Pink light flickered around Luo Xianni throughout the fight. She was the sole Infinite-level Paragon defending the humans, and the only one with a clear mind. She knew how precarious their position was, and the moment the aliens' Domain broke past hers it would destroy Jun'er's protective shell. Exposed to the raging protogenia of so many Paragons, Middle Heaven would be torn apart from the inside. The results would be catastrophic.

    They had to find another battlefield.

    "Quickly!" Luo Xianni shouted toward the Wine Master.

    The old Avenue leader knew what was needed without being told. He appeared in front of her in a flash of silver light. Holding his scepter high, archaic runes appeared floating in the air around them and the gem in its center flared. As waves of light poured from him Luo Xianni brandished her small pink camera.

    Combined power from the two interspatial powerhouses caused reality to lurch uncomfortably. The aliens' Domain shook under the pressure.

    All four of the Infinite-level aliens were locked in combat. The Violet Prince was entangled by Lan Jue's rabid onslaught. With the addition of Zhou Qianlin and the Prince's fear of their Harmonious Swords he was on his back foot.

    The Violet Princess was squared off against the two Gods of Wine, the Pontiff, and the Gourmet. All four of them were far inferior to the Princess in cultivation, but the Pontiff's light-based powers had a restrictive effect on her and he was nearly a Reflection of Heaven and Earth. Likewise the Gods of Wine were adept at battlefield control and were keeping her tangled up. Indeed the Princess had the upper hand, but for now they weren't letting her employ her full powers.

    The Terminator elected to face iron with iron. He faced off against one of the planet's avatars alone, relying on his overwhelming strength to keep his target locked down. The final alien was left to the Epochrion and the rest of the Avenue' Paragons.

    For the time being the Epochrion's powers, paired with attacks by the Pauper and the Driver, were enough to keep the avatar distracted. What frightened their enemy the most was the Driver's Primordial Lightning, for even with its superior cultivation it didn't dare risk a direct blow.
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