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Chapter 505: I’m Leaving!

    Chapter 505: I'm Leaving!

    Jue Di's face was infinitely calm.

    The capsule shook, then arrived at its destination. Jue Di was the first to rise and exit the vehicle.

    Lan Jue nervously swung his eyes to Luo Xianni. "Mother, you..."

    She laughed. "Relax, I'm not so easily defeated. The more he wants me to go, the more I'm going to dig in. One day he'll come around. Come, let's go."

    Lan Jue followed after Luo Xianni and clambered out of the capsule. He had no right to speak to their relationship dispute, nor did he dare to incite her anger. But, he was starting to like this lady.

    Father was being honest. He was not one to stick around. Even when he and Lan Qing were small, he'd often go missing. The longest he was away at one time was six months.

    "Chi Bupang!" Luo Xianni called out to him.

    The man stopped and turned back to look at them. "Change your mind?"

    She chuckled indifferently. "Yeah. You don't want me, right?"

    Jue Di's hard expression softened, and he offered a bitter grin. "It's not that I don't want you. It's that I can't dare to. I know what kind of man I am, and I can't settle down. I know that although I like you..."

    "Fine! Enough said. I'm leaving!" Luo Xianni spun on her heels and stomped away with big strides.

    This was a quick and unexpected change of events. Didn't she just swear she'd never leave? And then... she leaves?

    Lan Jue was thoroughly confused, as was the great Paragon. Jue Di thought he knew this brilliant woman - the two had been tied up with one another for more than a hundred years, on again and off again.  And she was going to just walk away? That can't be right. This was completely out of character!

    As he sat there pondering, Jue Di couldn't help the pang of uncertainty that ate at him. It just couldn't be that easy.

    But he watched her sashay away, head held high, and completely ignorant of what was going on in there. Both men felt something ominous about the whole thing.

    "Come on!" Jue Di barked with curt wave of his hand. Lan Jue skittered after him.

    Soon, they arrived in a large open warehouse, a typical mecha construction assembly. The machines needed to perform this were arrayed around them.

    "Let me see your designs." Jue Di seemed to relax for that Luo Xianni wasn't peering over his shoulder. He could sense that she had meant it, she was no longer nearby.

    Lan Jue walked to a nearby computer and uploaded his plans.

    **

    Ziluo Public Air Hangar

    Luo Xianni had changed clothes and freshened up, and a pretty fragrance followed her as she boarded a ship. As she took her seat within a first-class cabin, a smile spread across her face.

    "Chi Bupang, you old bastard. You'll be looking for me soon enough. Your old lady won't have to go looking for you anymore. Hehehehehe..."

    A pleasing, artificial female voice cooed through the announcement system. "Thank you, ladies and gentlemen, for joining us on today's flight. Our destination is Planet Skyfire. Skyfire City."

    **

    Planet Anlun.

    Lan Qing stood tall, peering out of the expansive window on the bridge of a ship. He watched the traffic pass quietly by, a sharp glint in his eye.

    The date they'd set with the Clairvoyant was rapidly approaching. He would need to set out soon.

    These days, Anlun was like a ravenous war machine, always in motion. This was one of the foremost military outposts in the East, so there were always resource ships coming and going. Soldiers were drilling constantly in all corners of the bases.

    "Beep! Beep!"

    "A-Cheng!" Lan Qing connected the call.

    "Hey big brother, when are you going to Skyfire Avenue?" Chu Cheng's trademark lazy voice answered.

    "The day after tomorrow." He kept to simple answers.

    "Ah, then I'll start getting ready as well. Ah, right. I haven't seen A-Jue for a while, where'd he disappear to? He doesn't answer my calls, it's been almost half a month."

    "He's fine," Lan Qing said. "He'll be there on time."

    Chu Cheng switched topics. "Things have been pretty crazy up here. Planets on the boundaries are already under martial law and they've got fleets going back and forth all the time. You got any news on your side?"

    "Military secrets."

    Chu Cheng chortled. "As uninteresting as ever. So what do you think, huh? Lan Jue's gotten pretty good, I'm not sure you could take him anymore."

    "He said you've gotten better, too."

    "Eh... you know, forget I said anything."

    When they hung up, Lan Qing allowed the faintest ghost of a smile to turn his lips.

    "Sir!"

    "Enter."

    "Admiral, the Bloodiron Khans have completed their training. We await inspection." The major snapped to attention.

    "Nhm." Lan Qing's answer was quit and simple. "Let's go."

    The Bloodiron Khans, a new collection of soldiers borne from the reorganization of their forces. Every pilot was outfitted with the latest generation of war machines, the Anaxigen class mecha suit1. The Bloodiron Khans consisted of three thousand warriors, every one of them Adepts. None were below fourth rank.

    The formation of this group had been at Lan Qing's direction. His brother's A.R.C. class had been the inspiration. Usually, a single mecha fighting unit wouldn't make that much of a difference in a deep space battle, but the Bloodiron Khans had only the best mecha pilots in the East. Their commander, none other than Lan Qing himself, the Supersoldier of Anlun!

    Beyond all doubt, when the fighting began these men and women would be the tip of the spear.

    ζ

    Jupiter-1 slipped through the emptiness of space, somehow simultaneously moving fast and slow. That was just the sense, though. The ship was cruising along at twice the speed of light, and it wasn't even at top speed. In the whole ship there was only one person, making the ship designed for mecha platoon transport seem awfully empty.

    Lan Jue sat in the captain's chair, a smile plastered on his face.

    It was one incredible ship, he thought. It didn't have the benefit of the Blinding Stone, but everything else was head and shoulder above Zeus-1. It was also larger, and better equipped for combat. Its speed was its defining attribute, though.

    It had been a gift from father before he left, while he took Zeus-2 and set out as well. He suspected that Luo Xianni, so quick to vanish, must have been up to no good. Although he didn't know what she did, it was better to go take care of it.

    In front of Lan Jue, was that purple crystal swinging back and forth. With Jue Di's stabilizing efforts, the crystal's impressive stores of energy acted much like an Adept's Core. But it wasn't, it was an Alien Core.

    A Core with enough inherent energy to rival an S-ranked gem.

    The first Core they'd carved free, he'd given to the Bookworm and Keeper. They'd used it to extend their lives. The Bookworm's ultimate breakthrough to Paragon was due in part to the use of that strange crystal Core. They showed up for the rescue on Luo because they owed Lan Jue.

    This crystal was muddled, it would need the power of the Tear of Neptune to filter it. It would improve and supplement its vital force.

    From what he learned from father, the importance of these Cores in the struggle between Alien and man was already beginning to make itself known. Every beast that died left one behind, and the smarter ones were already on Lyr looking for the Tears they needed. The formerly cheap s-ranked gems were suddenly in high demand, and the first ones there were representatives from Skyfire Avenue.

    Su He was acting as the representative for the Avenue in the area for all their purchasing needs. How many Tears he'd purchased for them he couldn't say, it was being kept a closely guarded secret.

    Lan Jue had already promised his father, that when he got back he would send the Tear he had over. His father's aged state of mind still troubled him. Perhaps he would use the alien Core to help extend his life like the Keeper and Bookworm. He wasn't sure the Clairvoyant would need it.

    The three months since his last meeting with the Clairvoyant was nearly up. It's was time to go back to the Avenue as he'd promised.

    The ship's incredible speed traversed the trip from Ziluo in half the time. He descend in to the air hangar, and then discovered that his own space wasn't big enough to accommodate the much larger Juppiter-1. He had no choice but to lease a new one temporarily.

    A car was already waiting when he disembarked. Xiuxiu had come to pick him up.

    "Boss." She greeted him with a sweet smile, then drove them back to the Avenue.

    "You're always so considerate," Lan Jue praised with a smile.

    Xiuxiu laughed, but behind her eyes there was a bitter light. She focused on driving.

    The car lifted off, and Lan Jue leaned the chair back to make himself more comfortable. "Things have been good these days?"

    Xiuxiu nodded. "Everything's good. As per your instructions, we've suspended business. Our suits are all fully upgraded and ready."

    "Good. And Xiuxiu, this last time when I went back, dad taught me a new style. I'll show it to you when we have some time." Lan Jue said with a smile.

    "Ok." Her eyes lit up.

    He hesitated for a moment, then said, "Xiuxiu. These last few years I've wronged you."

    Xiuxiu laughed dismissively. "Boss, what's this nonsense? Serving at your side has always been Xiuxiu's mission!"

    Lan Jue glanced at her. "You know I've never looked at you like an attendant. You're like my little sister. So stop acting like a servant, we're partners, friends. We're family, alright?"

    Xiuxiu's face blanched somewhat, and her pretty lips puckered. "Boss, what are you trying to say?"

    1. Struggled with this one. The name of the suits are , Yan and Huang referring to the first two emperors of China. I chose to go with a clipped version of the suffix for ancestor, and what google tells me is the prefix for king.
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