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Chapter 880: Some Silence

    Chapter 880: Some Silence

    Lin Guoguo sighed. "Xiuxiu never blamed you. She used to tell us that love isn't something you can manage. She always loved you. You would protect her if she were bullied, and help keep her head high - no matter the cost. She remembered that. And the times she would dress up as your bride when you played as children. She said she was yours all the way back then."

    "Xiuxiu was in so much pain when you were together with Hera. Her mood was always off. When Hera was gone and we came to you, to help you recover, we all thought the two of you would come together in time. Instead you fell apart. Xiuxiu saw what it did to you and cried every night. But she never cried in front of you."

    "When you snapped out of your stupor no one was happier than Xiuxiu. Then another girl that looked exactly like Hera showed up in your life. When she found out Xiuxiu went out to get drunk. We stayed with her. We all drank. Boss, she really loved you. She loved you more than her own life."

    As Lin Guoguo's words washed over him tears streamed down Lan Jue's face.

    Xiuxiu was gone, not even a body left to bury. She was just...

    Lan Jue hung his head and his eyes swung to her storage device. The last thing she wanted him to have... but what was it?

    He rose to his feet, and addressed the three of them firmly. "I need some silence."

    He left quickly, like he couldn't wait to flee.

    Zhou Qianlin watched from some distance away, but did not follow. Not this time. He needed to be alone.

    ξ

    "You must have felt it." Li Ke's spirit manifested standing next to Lan Qing. After joining with Ultus his ghostly appearance was almost indistinguishable from reality. He would never have a physical form of his own again, but this was a close facsimile.

    He discovered that as Lan Qing's power grew he became more substantial. Maybe one day he could hold his daughter for the first time.

    Lan Qing nodded. "Ultus asks for far more than I thought. We need to improve our cultivation. I worry if we'd succeed even if we all reach Nirvana."

    Li Ke grinned. "Honestly, I don't know either. All I see what I find in Ultus' memories, and I've found nothing about what the Strategy will really do. After all, it's been an uncountable number of years since Ultus has appeared in human hands."

    "If there a way for us to quickly improve our cultivation?" Lan Qing asked. "Surely the crystals we took today can help."

    Li Ke nodded. "Helpful, yes. Enough in fact to empower you to the Infinite, I'd think. But that's not the way to do it. Your bodies wouldn't be able to withstand the massive amount of pressure placed on them. Little Yue told me Lan Jue and Qianlin have broken through a series of grades very quickly. Pressing that process any further would be dangerous. But once they do break through to the Infinite, I don't think they would be in any danger of a power backlash from the swords. Absorbing and assimilating protogenia takes time, and you're already moving quickly. Going too fast will have consequences, not least of which the universe itself. You won't know what it is to suffer the pressure of universal protogenia until you become one with the Infinite. Under those conditions the power you could command wouldn't be at the Infinite level. You'd be lucky to command the power of Nirvana. First, before we do anything, you all need to reach Nirvana. Once you do we can attempt the Strategy. Then we'll see if anything else needs to be done."

    Lan Qing nodded. He agreed that it was the best path forward.

    ξ

    Lan Jue returned to his room and didn't leave for some time. No one knew what he was doing. Once he shut the door no one had gone in.

    Humanity's armada and its three bastions slowly made their way back to Angel. They encountered no more aliens on the way. It wasn't very long before they were back on solid ground.

    Lan Qing and the Pharmacist locked themselves away as well. They were trying to achieve Nirvana as soon as possible.

    Middle Heaven's remaining Paragons were recovered. Chu Cheng took the remains of the Terminator and the vital crystal left behind to Tyrannosaurus.

    They were returning after a series of victories, but they were hollow. The looming threat of destruction remained.

    When they got back to Angel they were met with good news. Another bastion had appeared in Angel's orbit. It was Heron, the only bastion left that had experience fighting the alien horde.

    The Northern Alliance had suffered a terrible defeat in the Shattered Starfields, and again shortly after. To try and offset this they threw all their resources into repairing their fastest ship. It packed a punch as well. As for other reinforcements it would be some time before they showed up. Luckily Angel's food stores were well stocked, and there were no fear of the citizens revolting. They'd started building neighborhoods.

    Of course they made announcements of their victories during the campaign. This boosted moral and gladdened the hearts of the people. Video of the clashes were spread far and wide, filling the humans with hope. Especially when believers saw their Queen of Heaven appear on screen. Seeing her fighting nimbly by Lan Jue's side only boosted her reputation.

    Of course the inevitable question afterward was, who was this man who dared fight shoulder to shoulder with her?

    Lan Jue soon became the focus of scrutiny. He was known as the champion of the Conclave's Great Adept Tournament, and a hero who showed up to turn the tide on many tragedies. When they saw his pedigree they grudgingly accepted his relationship to Qianlin.

    All over occupied space human eyes were trained on Angel, waiting for the verdict. Things had thankfully settled down, however, after word of the armada's deeds spread. Their string of victories and saving their fellow man had given them hope and pride.

    But this relative silence had its drawbacks. Some were already voicing skepticism, saying that there were too few soldiers to prevail. Why weren't all of the North's eight bastions out there fighting for mankind?

    Why weren't there reinforcements for these soldiers who've been battling on the front lines so long already? Were politicians more concerned with their own interests than those of their species? The North and East both suffered chastisement, though the North got it worse.

    All along the North had been known as humanity's mightiest Alliance, with an invincible fighting worse. Yet in this decisive time it wasn't the North was in charge. The Eastern Alliance and Poseidon Group were guiding the way.

    Poseidon-class bastion's praise was especially high when the word got out, after scenes from its remarkable fight appeared on civilian screens. It was especially shocking for everyone to see it fighting in mecha form. Needless to say it made an impression and suddenly the Poseidon Group's reputation exploded.

    Northern military news sources reported that in addition to Heron they were also sending two more bastions to the front line. They had to under pressure of public opinion. However the keen of eye knew that the war was coming to its end soon one way or another. Sending reinforcements now would make little difference in either case.

    Heron's sudden arrival boosted the Northern's military capabilities significantly.

    Since Lan Qing was working on his cultivation, Kang Hui had taken temporary control of the armada. He immediately recommended they prepare for another assault on the home worlds.

    Kang Hui had no choice but to adhere to Lan Qing's plan for the Banishing Blades, but he was still the commander of the Northern forces. There was still a lot of suspicion surrounding whether four swords could destroy three planets.

    In fact they doubted that the alien home worlds were trying to create their own utopia. But they did know these monsters were changing, and whatever they changed into would be the stuff of nightmares.

    Kang Hui proposed moving in now. The evolution had to be stopped, and both the monsters' soldiers and generals were bloodied. With the addition of Heron they were sufficiently reinforced, according to him. The nimble bastion was ready for action.

    He didn't completely dismiss the possibility of the Banishing Blades being effective. What he proposed was a two-prong attack. If they could succeed with a purely military victory than that would be great, and the Banishing Swords could be kept as a backup. If they fail at least they'll have succeeded in weakening the enemy further. Perhaps that'd improve the Easterners' chances.

    His proposal passed unanimously. Even the commander representing the Eastern army in Lan Qing's absence agreed. Poseidon Group didn't share an opinion. Its bastion, and Middle Heaven as well, would not fight as well in future battles as they had been.

    When the plan was ratified Kang Hui announced three days of rest and repairs. After three day they would attack the aliens again.
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