Skyfire Avenue, Chapter 753

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Chapter 753: The Austins Flee

“Alright. What about A-Jue?” Hua LI’s voice sounded concerned.

“He’s been cultivating,” Lan Qing replied. “He hopes to break through before this fight starts.”

Hua Li’s anxiety was clear. “You need to persuade him not to be too hasty. There are real risks.”

Lan Qing was calm as ever. “He’s fine, his foundation is solid. He could have broken through a long time ago if he’d wanted to. This is the most opportune moment he’s encountered so far. He wont rush, don’t worry.”

Hua Li replied. “That’s good. Who’d have thought we’d really come to a day when we’d be fighting shoulder to shoulder, eh? A-Cheng should be coming with Tyrannosaurus. You think they’ll write stories about us? ‘The Battle of the Four Divine Monarchs’?”

Lan Qing’s voice betrayed his no-nonsense demeanor. “If you have nothing of substance to say, hang up.”

“Ugh! Guy, you really need to grow a personality. Alright, that’s that then. We’ll talk again in person.” Hua Li hung up.

Lan Qing shook his head. In reality he wasn’t thrilled with the fact Hua Li was commanding his bastion. Simply put the entertainer was too gentle. In the heat of battle you needed blood of iron, it was too easy for emotional problems to rise to the fore. Calm needed to be maintained.

Still, he was pleased with the help from Poseidon Group’s warriors. They were the richest army in all the alliances, and was well established. Their strength was undisputed, and their people boasted a host of talents. He just hoped their Poseidon-class bastion packed more surprises for them to exploit.

Three bastions, three planets. On paper they were decent odds. The alien home worlds were strong, but Lan Qing had faith in Middle Heaven. Even if their mission failed…

His face became stern. If the North had the strength, so did the East!

 

ζ

 

The air was thick and gloomy aboard the large blue ship. Sylva Austin sat within the cockpit, ghastly pale. He’d maintained this position for several hours already. When news that the West’s bastions had fallen, the Austin family’s ships raced to Europa. It didn’t take them long to load up most of their riches and leave.

Although they were the West’s ultimate political family, they didn’t have anywhere near the riches Poseidon Group boasted. All they needed was a transport ship disguised as a merchant vessel. Their escape was tacitly agreed to by the Western government, since the Austins had held the reigns of power for so long.

Richard Austin stood at his father’s side. He looked just as bad, distraught over having to flee his home and flying toward an uncertain future.

“Father. Us leaving like this… the West…” He struggled to find the words.

“The West is finished!” Sylva harshly replied to his son. Yes, the West was finished. Without its bastions it was like a naked woman waiting to be ravaged. There was no other outcome.

“But we can ask for support from the North. The Aliens wouldn’t be able to ambush and destroy so many bastions at once.” Richard was clearly loathe to abandon his home.

Sylva shut his eyes, pain written on his face. “Impossible. I know what is happening in the North. You are not a politician, you don’t understand the problems politicians face. They can’t do something simply because they want to. Their people are rioting, their last offensive served only to condemn many of their young men to death. Four planets were destroyed. Their failure scarred them deeply, and all they can do now is defend their homes. Of course, the destruction of the West just means their own death has been postponed.”

Sylva opened his eyes. They were hard and bitter.

Richard was shocked. “So… you mean we aren’t going to the North?”

His father replied. “Of course not. Why would we do? Become their vassals? We have been preparing, spending a lot of our hard-earned wealth to gather everything we need to resettle somewhere else. We have the technology to terraform a place to our needs, build a new ecosystem. We’re leaving the territories traditional held by mankind – the farther the better. Our family and servants, three thousand people, will constitute the foundation of a new Western Alliance. Even if they defeat the aliens, the West as we know it know has passed into history. How will they treat us? The Austins survival must be assured by becoming leaders, as is their right!”

Richard opened his mouth, but said nothing. A bitter expression crossed his face. Europa… he’d grown up there, it was his home for as long as he’d been alive. He didn’t want to leave the planet to its fate.

When the aliens came the people of his abandoned world would live a short life of pain and fear. The Austin family must become rulers? But what sort of ruler didn’t protect their own people?

In an instant he felt like he’d grown up. A beautiful face appeared behind his eyes.

Qianlin… are you well? It’s been so long since I’ve seen your face. Are you still with that man? I regret that I am so weak, or he wouldn’t have stolen you away from me.

A formless pain filled his chest when he thought of her. It had been so long, and so much had happened. Now the pain was just a shadow of the stabbing obsession he’d felt before.

Love’s ache didn’t hurt so badly when one’s life was in danger.

His thoughts were interrupted when a man in a captain’s uniform approached. “Mr. Austin, we have a problem. An unidentified military force has blocked our path.”

“What?” Sylva was shocked by the news. He shot to his feet. “Do you know who they are?”

The soldier hesitated. “We believe they’re from the East.”

“The Eastern Alliance?” Sylva’s brows knit tight as he thought. After the fight against the aliens the Eastern army should have returned home to defend their own territory. Why would they be here all of a sudden?

“Let me see.” He said.

The captain brought Sylva to a screen. There he saw a host of warships spread out before them. They were arranged in a formation that prevented further passage.

The captain went on. “Their call-signs and indications mark them as Eastern vessels. They’ve hailed us, requesting to speak with someone. Look here…”

Sylva scowled. “Open a connection.” It seemed strange to encounter Eastern soldiers out here without rhyme or reason. Perhaps they didn’t know the aliens where in the vicinity?

An officer appeared on the screen. “I am Senior Colonel Liu Feng. Please reply with your designation.” Liu Feng spoke curtly.

The officer by Sylva’s shoulder answered. “We are a vessel under the auspices of the West. By what authority are you entering into Western space without authorization? And you dare to ask our designation!”

Liu Feng was not cowed. “We’ve come to defend the West from alien invasion. Your vessel and status are unclear, it is protocol to hail all unknown vessels in proximity.”

Save them from the aliens? Even Sylva Austin couldn’t believe what he was hearing. Could this be true? The North was busy with their own affairs, but the East came instead?

Sylva Austin blurted out. “How many reinforcements did you bring?”

The Senior Colonel replied. “Report your designation.”

After a moment of hesitation, the Western politician answered. “This is the West’s Ninth Fleet. I am their commander, Chief Sylva.”

Liu Feng looked his over for a moment. “You’re an army Chief? Why aren’t you in uniform? As far as I know the West doesn’t have a ninth fleet.”

“Newly authorized,” Sylva replied. “I request to speak with your commanding officer. Tell them President Sylva Austin wishes to speak with him.”

Liu Feng went silent as he tried to confirm the information. His computer verified that this man was indeed the Western President, and patriarch of the Austin family.

Liu Feng was an intelligent man. The Present’s presence on these unmarked military vessels was telling. However, Sylva was an important person in the West and in the military.

“Please hold on while I get the Admiral.”

Before long the Senior Colonel’s face was replaced by another, a young-ish man with gallant features. His uniform was jet black, and four gold stars glinted on his shoulders. He regarded Sylva and his officer with a cold, hard expression. Richard Austin was immediately struck by his image, even on a screen.

This man’s aura was almost palpable.

Sylva Austin knew him the moment he saw him. He was a famous figure in the East – perhaps all across human space.

The An Lun super soldier, a star of his military generation. He was a Paragon in service to the Eastern military, but was also known as Prometheus of the Divine Monarchs. Lan Qing!


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