Chapter 386: The Fifth Amazon
Lan Jue coughed uncomfortably. “Your man came and got me. He said the Pontiff’s men had kidnapped you, and brought you back to the Citadel. Qianlin and I went in to get you out. We still aren’t safe, though. We’re holed up in Europa for the time being. Are you well enough to use your Discipline? Your wounds are serious.”
The Moonfiend Empress was fully present now, and looked from Lan Jue to Zhou Qianlin. Her face was calm, but there was an ache in her eyes.
Lan Jue produced the gem they’d pilfered while rescuing the Empress. He handed it to her. “We’ll talk more later. Right now, you need to restore your Discipline and heal. When you’re better, we’ll get off of Eurmania and find a safe harbor. We’ll talk then.”
“Mh.” She took the gem from Lan Jue without a word of thanks. He helped her in to a cross-legged position on the bed. She held the crystal in both hands, then with eyes closed galvanized what remained of her Discipline.
A short time later, a pale golden aura began to pulse around her. Lan Jue’s concern was visibly reduced then. So long as a ninth level adept survived, they would recover.
“We should spend time on cultivation ourselves,” Lan Jue urged as he looked at Qianlin.
“Alright,” she responded with a compliant nod.
The Moonfiend empress suffered from grievous injuries, but any Adept whose Discipline was light-based had potent healing capabilities. At ninth level sixth rank, her body’s own inherent regenerative abilities were already strong. Together, it meant her body would recover in a day. The Empress’ Discipline, though, would take time to fully return.
Lan Jue and Qianlin settled in to their meditative arrangement, just as Bize had instructed. It had been proven to do just as the old god of wine had claimed, and speed up their cultivation. After every session both of them could clearly feel improvements in their Discipline. For Lan Jue, this had been building up since the beginning of ninth level.
Their fused meditations immersed them in protogenic energy, infusing them with an understanding they wouldn’t otherwise achieve. However, although their individual Disciplines improved their power when fused together never seemed to change. It was to be expected, though – the peak of ninth level was the upper limits of humanity. Only Paragons, super humans, could pass that threshold. With their current abilities there was still work to do.
Regardless, they were cultivating at the level of a peak Adept even if their individual Disciplines weren’t there. They could sense the fluctuations of protogensis around them just as someone nearer to Paragon would. All of this was preparing them for their bottleneck, for when they would need to break though.”
Europa was a worthy capitol city. Never once during their stay were they harassed. Lan Jue watched the Western news on the holograph projector for reports on the Pontiff’s Citadel, but none were forthcoming.
Another day passed, and it’s end saw the Empress’ powers back over ninth level. She wasn’t back to her old self – that would need longer – but it was enough.
“When are we leaving?” The Moonfiend empress asked.
“Where are you thinking of going?” Lan Jue looked at her. “The Starfields? I think it might be better if you come back with us first. I’ll have Zeus-1 send you home from there. There’s something I have to take care of first. How about you go back to the Avenue and wait for me there.”
She shook her head. “No, I’m not going back. The Moonfiend Pirates are entirely under the Pontiff’s control now, but for a few. I couldn’t take it back even if I went. And you, you’ve always watched over me. I don’t want to cause you any more trouble than I already have. I am no longer the Moonfiend Empress, that woman is dead. I rise again as the Morning Star. But not the Citadel’s. I shall be Zeus’ Archangel.”
Lan Jue could immediate sense the change in Qianlin’s mood beside him. “Little yue, this…”
The Morningstar’s face spread in a bewitching smile. She looked to Qianlin. “Zeus has his four Amazons, they don’t need me to round them out. My name… my real name, is Su Xiaosu – The Morning Star, Su Xiaosu. I am now the Fifth Amazon.” She rose to her feet and, with resolve in her eyes, bowed low toward Lan Jue.
Lan Jue bound to the side in an effort to avoid the uncomfortable ceremony. He laughed awkwardly. “Now Little Yue, stop this nonsense. How are you going to be forcing people to control you?”
She rose and smiled at him. “I’m not compelling control. Boss. If you refuse, I don’t mind. I’ll just walk back in to the Pontiff’s Citadel. When they put me down there, my old life was over – I don’t have anything else to return to. If you aren’t willing to accept my oath, then leave me here. I understand, and with four Amazons already you have a lot on your plate. You don’t need a Morning Star.”
Lan Jue spied the easy tilt to her lips, and relaxed. But though she smiled, he could see the sadness and rejection behind her eyes. How could she not? She was entirely alone, without help. Her Moonfiend Pirates were gone, so where could she call home?
What’s more, the Pontiff had harmed her gravely with their torment, and she would need a place to heal.
He heaved a sigh. “How about this. Head back to the Avenue with us first. You can hang around until you get back on your feet, but none of this ‘fifth amazon’ nonsense. I’m just a friend offering a place to stay. Once you clear your head, find a path, then we’ll part ways.”
“Alright,” she answered reluctantly.
Zhou Qianlin urged her will through the Soul Caller gemstone:
“I guess I know why those other women started hanging around you.”
“I can’t just leave her here helpless! She’s been through a lot, and has been injured. Relax, alright? There’s nothing between she and I.”
“Relax? Why should I have to relax – there’s nothing between you and I!”
Lan Jue contemplated the decision for a moment more, but in the end he decided it was best to bring the Morningstar back to the Avenue. There was a chance her presence would be discovered at the adept tournament, but they wouldn’t be on home turf. More troubling was the exhaustive searches going on all through Eurmania and the ships around it. If Lan Jue left her to try and escape on her own, she’d likely be found – especially since she was headed to Skyfire.
With his mind made up, Lan Jue purchased two first class tickets on the next flight to Planet Luo. He then had the Accountant hack in to the transit system and get them an off-the-books third ticket.
The last part was easy; Su Xiaosu was concealed in Lan Jue’s interdimensional transport while he and Qianlin calmly waltzed through the security check.