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    Asianovel

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    Chapter 79

    In the third year of the Qianyun Calendar.

    Jing Baiyuan did not blame Bai Xian.

    He had merely grown up and become accustomed to using that expression with everyone around him… Though Chu Li was an exception, his attitude toward her had gradually changed as they spent more time together. As for Bai Xian, although she was his mother and he cared deeply about her, their estrangement would not fade simply because of their affection.

    Perhaps they just needed some time to get to know each other again.

    Jing Baiyuan did not respond to Bai Xian's words but said instead, "Lukang is safe now. You and Professor Wenren can stay here temporarily while you figure out what to do next… Is your health alright?"

    Bai Xian shook her head. "There are some minor issues. He had given me medicine in the past. I don't remember much of the past few years. Also… He made me drink the immortality potion extracted from the Dusk Afterglow, but that drug requires lifelong consumption. If I stop taking it, its effects will disappear. Although I appear youthful, I can't live as long as a young person anymore. In another seventy or eighty years, I'll probably pass away."

    The lifespan of interstellar humans was significantly longer than before. The number of years she mentioned was roughly equivalent to her natural life expectancy.

    Jing Baiyuan nodded. "Get a physical checkup later just to be safe."

    "Very well," Bai Xian consented.

    Jing Baiyuan continued, "Speaking of apologies, it should be me apologizing to you. After all these years, I haven't been able to rescue you."

    At the tender age of fifteen, he was thrown into the ranks of the expeditionary force. If not for his master's protection, he wouldn't have survived. Although he later became an army general, his men were stationed in Deerport. Lancelot guarded the palace fiercely and regarded him as his most formidable adversary, denying him even the slightest opportunity to interact with the royal court. As a result, for all these years, his power had been utterly useless.

    Fortunately, Wen Renjian lent a helping hand, and being Chu Li's teacher as well, Jing Baiyuan felt immense gratitude towards him.

    Hearing his apology, Bai Xian shook his head repeatedly.

    Yet before Bai Xian could utter a word, Jing Baiyuanting continued, "But if Xiao Li were here, he would surely tell me not to apologize. I feel the same way. It wasn't your intention to leave me behind back then, and we both had no choice. Despite the hardships, we've eventually found each other again. So let's not dwell on the past or apologize to one another."

    After saying that, he added, "Mother."

    For some reason, Bai Xian was deeply moved, tears streaming down her face as she laughed through her sobs. Nodding repeatedly, she agreed, "Yes, you're right. It's all in the past now."

    Jing Baiyuanting handed her a tissue. After wiping her face clean, Bai Xian, once her emotions settled a bit, couldn't resist asking out of curiosity, "On my way here, I heard that you and... you got engaged to Xiao Li?"

    The mention of his engagement brought a tender glint to Jing Baiyuanting's eyes. "Yes, that's right."

    Bai Xian smiled. "How long have you two known each other?"

    Jing Baiyuan thought for a moment. "For over two years."

    Bai Xian nodded. "It's about time, then."

    She wanted to ask more but didn't know where to start. Just as she fell into silence, footsteps echoed from outside.

    It was Ya Lan come to find Jing Baiyuan.

    The conflict with the Empire had yet to be resolved, and Jing Baiyuan had only temporarily set aside his duties to escort them back.

    Bai Xian hurriedly stood up. "Go on, attend to your matters."

    Jing Baiyuan got up and followed Ya Lan out, leaving Bai Xian alone in the room. She sat for a while, then decided to go outside and see what was happening.

    Exiting her room, she caught sight of Hong Feng and the others cleaning up the confetti from the previous engagement party. Approaching them, she began chatting and engaging in conversation.

    Although Chu Li had mentioned that Bai Xian was Jing Baiyuan's mother, she appeared far too young for anyone to believe it. As such, they conversed with her as if she were one of their peers.

    They all greeted Bai Xian warmly, so she approached them and joined in their cleaning efforts.

    After a while, she noticed a young man emerging from a nearby room. He was engaged in conversation with someone wearing a white lab coat. As they chatted, the young man's gaze suddenly landed on Bai Xian.

    She recognized him – he was Chu Li.

    The young man had gentle features, and upon seeing her, he offered a warm smile.

    Bai Xian returned his smile.

    ---

    In the conflict between the Empire and the Qian Yun Alliance, Lancelot had not made an appearance. He was still on Blue Stripe Star – not because he didn't want to go, but due to some unexpected health issues.

    At that moment, he sat in his royal chamber, surrounded by a few imperial physicians from the palace.

    Just as His Majesty had ascended the throne, he claimed to have fallen ill, summoning doctors yet forbidding them from examining him directly. Only the head physician, who had been favored by the previous emperor, was allowed inside. The two conversed for a long time without emerging, leaving the other physicians outside with a growing sense of curiosity.

    What ailment did the Emperor suffer from? And why was it being kept so secretive?

    Inside the room, the gravity of their conversation surpassed all expectations.

    Lancelot sat by the table with one arm resting on its surface, his sleeve rolled up, revealing spots that dotted his skin beneath.

    Those were age spots typically found only on the verge of death in the elderly, yet they now adorned the body of Lancelot, whose face appeared no more than twenty-something years old.

    Fixing his gaze intently on the physician before him, he asked, "Is there any solution?"

    The physician's forehead glistened with sweat. This wasn't an illness but rather the consequence of the medications His Majesty had consumed previously... Their effects were waning.

    The drug Bai Xian had once researched aimed to transplant the genetic traits of Duskglow into humans, allowing them to reverse their aging process and return to a youthful state, just like Duskglow. However, humans were not Duskglow; even if the drug worked perfectly, it would transform Lancelot into a child.

    Both infancy and old age were far from the pinnacle of strength. The immortality Lancelot sought was eternal life at the peak of power, which is why he urged Bai Xian to create an accelerator, enabling him to shorten the infantile phase after consuming it.

    Now, something seemed to have gone wrong with the accelerator. His aging persisted, and at this rate, he would soon revert to his aged state... And this time, Bai Xian had destroyed all the experimental results, leaving him without new medication.

    Counting back, those two decades of his life felt like a stolen gift.

    He had spent so much money establishing laboratories throughout the empire, yet not a single person could replicate Bai Xian's original experiment!

    Not even the one who had once been Bai Xian's mentor could have done such a thing!

    No... He was on the same side as Bai Xian. He must have known about the entire experiment process all along, taking his money while deceiving him with fake progress!

    Was he really going to die prematurely because of the drug's effects? !

    No, how could that be possible? He had meticulously planned and worked so hard for this! There was no way he could just die like that!

    Lancelot had never yearned for life more urgently. The overflowing emotions made his gaze as sharp as blades, ready to tear the physician apart.

    The physician shrunk further in fear, stammering, "Your Majesty... T-this... This isn't an illness. The one who tied the knot must untie it... I... Please spare me, Your Majesty..."

    Trembling, he knelt down, but Lancelot had already lost interest in his words. Kicking him, he watched the octogenarian physician fall to the ground before impatiently saying, "Scram. What use do I have for your life?"

    Finding a trustworthy physician wasn't easy. He knew very well that this wasn't a curable illness, so it wasn't the physician's fault.

    Lancelot didn't intend to kill him just yet. Instead, he merely chased him away. After the physician left, Lancelot suddenly got up and dialed a number.

    Countries with normal diplomatic relations had their own means of communication. He contacted Huai Wei, "I have a deal to propose to you."

    Huai Wei has been enjoying the spectacle immensely lately, with Jing Baiyuan's engagement and the conflict with the Empire.

    He admires Jing Baiyuan more than Lancelot. Lancelot is a mad dog, impossible to communicate with, whereas Jing Baiyuan has some redeeming qualities.

    But his decision to aid Jing Baiyuan earlier was not rooted in trivial personal feelings. He merely believed that for the Alliance, a divided Empire would be preferable to a unified one.

    To his surprise, however, Lancelot proved to be so ineffectual against Jing Baiyuan, unable to mount any meaningful resistance.

    He narrowed his eyes at the video feed of Lancelot, wondering what antics this person was about to pull off.

    Lancelot replied, "It doesn't matter if you don't trust me. I can immediately seek validation from the Interstellar Court."

    As he spoke, he summoned a star map and drew a line on its edge. "This area, I'll give it to you."

    Upon seeing the location he marked, Huai Wei straightened abruptly in his seat. But after a moment, he frowned and leaned back, saying, "Are you insane? Why would you give this place to us?"

    Lancelot answered, "Of course, there are conditions. You aided Jing Baiyuanting's secession earlier, and I can overlook that. After all, there are no eternal enemies in this world, only eternal interests... Now, I need you to form an alliance with the Empire and help me deal with Jing Baiyuanting... Don't worry, I have no intention of killing Jing Baiyuanting or seizing Langport. All I want is a person named Bai Xian. As long as you bring this person to me, this territory will be yours."

    Hearing this, Huai Wei narrowed his eyes again. He scrutinized Lancelot intently, seemingly trying to read his intentions from his expression.

    Lancelot stood still, allowing him to observe.

    After a moment, Huai Wei asked, "Who is this person?"

    Lancelot replied, "She's my father's wife, once the top scientist in the Empire and holder of crucial experimental data. But now, she has fled to Qian Yun."

    Only then did Huai Wei realize that the name sounded familiar. Didn't she die recently?

    It seemed she had faked her death.

    Perfect, he had been planning to cause trouble for Jing Baiyuan Ting anyway.

    Huai Wei said, "Tell me more, I'll consider it."

    ---

    431, 85.

    These were the coordinates of the abandoned jump point, an area that was originally part of the Empire's space domain but was now swarming with expeditionary forces.

    A silvery warship hovered above the jump point, which had been transformed into a makeshift base. The commanders were in the mechanical chamber below, not only repairing the jump point but also upgrading its defense systems.

    Beside the jump point, mechas and warships continuously flew over, surrounding them.

    In the temporary base, Feng Yidun was directing the defensive warships to intercept pursuit cannons fired from the opposing side during his brief moments of respite. He received a call from Ya Lan.

    Without waiting for Ya Lan to speak, Feng Yidun asked, "When is the marshal coming?"

    They had arrived hastily with limited reinforcements, and their defenses wouldn't hold much longer.

    Ya Lan replied, "Right away. Clear some space."

    Feng Yidun inquired, "How many regiments have you mobilized?"

    Ya Lan gave a number, and Feng Yidun responded, "That's enough."

    Guarding the jump point, even though it was an abandoned and renovated one, still provided them with an advantage over the Empire. Besides Jing Baiyuan, there was no one else in the entire Empire who knew how to lead troops effectively. The soldiers in those warships and mechas seemed more like students Lancelot had hastily recruited from a school. It was one thing that they couldn't control their mechas properly, but they didn't even possess basic tactical knowledge.

    Just now, he had sent a team to probe the enemy, and they had attracted five warships in pursuit. Engaging in a pursuit battle in such a location was tantamount to seeking death. He didn't hold back and captured them all.

    Jing Baiyuan was swift in his actions. The moment Feng Yichen made space, he led his people to arrive. Five minutes later, Jing Baiyuan disembarked from the warship and hurriedly walked over to Feng Yichen's side, asking for an update on the situation.

    As the two spoke, Chu Li's gaze suddenly landed on the corner of the makeshift command room where five dusty individuals were bound. Jing Baiyuan was taken aback and asked, "What's this?"

    Feng Yichen glanced at them indifferently and said, "Oh, nothing. Just some captives we took."

    Jing Baiyuan was slightly surprised. How long had the battle just started before they managed to capture prisoners? Space battles weren't like land battles; there were escape pods in mechas and warships. Even if the exterior was destroyed, the people inside could still leave via the escape pods...

    Feng Yichen explained, "Just a bunch of kids. I lured them a little, and they fell for it..."

    Upon hearing this, Jing Baiyuan nodded and didn't inquire further.

    After finishing his conversation with Feng Yichen, he was about to leave when his gaze fell back onto those five individuals. For some reason, one of them seemed familiar. Jing Baiyuan paused and took another look, only to realize that the person was glaring at him fiercely.

    Jing Baiyuan was startled and, almost instinctively, asked, "Do you know me?"

    One of the young Alphas stared at him with bloodshot eyes, "My name is Shu Chenghang."

    Jing Baiyuan Ting: "?"

    He frowned and turned to leave, leaving behind a frenzied Shuchenghang, who yelled at him, "Why didn't you ask who I am?!"

    Jing Baiyuan Ting paused and said to his aide, "It's too noisy. Just get rid of them in any room. When we retreat, throw them into two hazmat suits and send them back to the Empire."

    Whether the Empire rescued them or not was none of his concern.

    The Alpha in the corner couldn't believe Jing Baiyuan Ting had just left like that. He shouted at Jing Baiyuan Ting, "Aren't you with Chu Li anymore? Why didn't you ask who I am?! Why?!"

    Why could he not care at all, not even sparing him a glance?

    If it weren't for the fact that he was facing Jing Baiyuan Ting's men, he wouldn't have been so reckless and captured so early in the war.

    Jing Baiyuan Ting, the traitor! He actually took Chu Li away... Why... Why... He didn't even look at him once!

    But no matter how much Shuchenghang shouted, Jing Baiyuan Ting was already gone.

    Feng Yidun, still in the command center, glanced at the raving Alpha and thought to himself, Yes, it is quite noisy and disruptive.

    Outside the command room, the warships encircling the jump point were multiplying. Ya Lan presented a topographical map of the vicinity, displaying the current battle situation. Red dots represented the enemy forces, while green dots indicated their own. Among them, there were also invisible enemy aircraft that couldn't be detected due to stealth coatings.

    Jing Baiyuan scanned the map and immediately sensed something amiss. He frowned and asked, "Are these five warships part of the Empire too?"

    Ya Lan replied, "They should be... Admiral, what's wrong?"

    Jing Baiyuan said, "This tactical approach doesn't resemble Lancelot's... Contact Huai Wei."

    Although unsure why Jing Baiyuan was making this request, Ya Lan still followed his orders.

    Sure enough, the first call didn't go through. Ya Lan frowned and asked, "What's happening?"

    As she was about to try again, Jing Baiyuan stopped her and said, "There's no need."

    He had already figured out the issue.

    Given Huai Wei's reputation as a turncoat, it wasn't surprising at all.

    Even if they confronted him, he would probably just chuckle and say that they were never really friends in the first place, so there was no question of loyalty. Whoever offered him benefits would automatically become his good friend.

    Back then, they could only persuade the Alliance to speak for them in the Interstellar Court because the Alliance itself hoped for the Empire's division.

    But the Empire could split, but it couldn't produce a burden-free and even more troublesome Jing Baiyuan, one harder to deal with than Lancelot. That was why he was now assisting Lancelot against them.

    It was reasonable and expected.

    Yuanting said, "Prepare for battle."

    As his words echoed, silent flashes of cannon fire illuminated the distant horizon.

    ---

    Regardless of the chaos outside, Deer Port, located at the heart of the Qian Yun Alliance, was untouched by any turmoil.

    After Yuanting left, Ya Lan would occasionally contact Chu Li to reassure him of her safety.

    Chu Li gradually understood this person's solemn approach to leading troops. He tried his best to set his worries aside and not overthink.

    However, a less-than-encouraging piece of news came from the frontlines: due to the Alliance's allegiance with Blue Stripe Star, their supply of enhancers was running dangerously low.

    Previously, the boosters were ordered from the Alliance. Now that they had become rivals, the Alliance naturally wouldn't provide them anymore.

    Upon learning this, Bai Xian promptly declared her ability to develop the formula herself.

    This lady was indeed a woman of action. The very next day after making that statement, she teamed up with Wen Renjian to establish a makeshift laboratory, dragging Chu Li along to assist. They also recruited some recent graduates from Qian Yun Star's educational institutions who possessed relevant knowledge.

    From then on, they began conducting experiments day and night.

    Initially, Chu Li was still concerned about Jing Baiyuan. However, after being pulled into the research team, he no longer had time for such worries.

    He then realized that Wen Renjian's research group on Blue Stripe Star was merely a facade; their supposed busyness was all an act. In reality, these two individuals... referring to them as "007" would be a polite understatement.

    The students could be excused, but Bai Xian and Wen Renjian practically lived in the school. Whenever Chu Li arrived at the lab, they were either intently monitoring experimental data or debating the best approach.

    When this teacher-student duo engaged in discussions, they spared no one's feelings. Sometimes, Chu Li thought they were about to come to blows, only for them to miraculously "make up" the next moment and resume their work.

    Their dynamic left him both amazed and bewildered.

    As a student yet to graduate, Chu Li also had much to learn.

    Perhaps due to Jing Baiyuan's influence, Bai Xian always treated him gently. Whenever he had questions, she would patiently explain them to him.

    Chu Li initially thought he was just there to assist, but seeing Bai Xian's earnest attitude, he felt guilty for not putting in more effort... so he started studying even more seriously.

    This was probably... a slacker being forced to strive hard.

    Thanks to everyone's collective efforts, the formula for the enhancer was finally cracked after a month. Bai Xian and Wen Renjian didn't rest on their laurels; they immediately dove into new research.

    —-

    No one could have predicted that the war between the Empire and Qian Yun would drag on into a protracted conflict.

    Neither side was willing to give up or yield.

    Lancelot was backed into a corner; his only chance of survival was to capture Bai Xian and have her formulate the medicine again... It was too late to start anew with another team now.

    Moreover, none of the previous laboratories had yielded any results. Some things in this world might simply be destined for certain individuals to accomplish.

    Unfortunately, those capable individuals... were not by his side.

    For this, he had almost mobilized the entire nation to launch a fierce assault on Jing Baiyuan, but Jing Baiyuan refused to budge an inch, safeguarding those behind him with unwavering resolve.

    Once upon a time, it was he in Luguang, trapped while Bai Xian was ensnared within the palace, surrounded by Lancelot's forces. Back then, Jing Baiyuan found it near impossible to approach Bai Xian despite all his efforts. Now, the tables had turned.

    Two months later, realizing that the alliance was as good as useless, they decisively withdrew, leaving the empire to its own fate.

    Without the alliance's support, the empire's defeat was swift and relentless.

    Throughout this period, the Interstellar Court issued numerous condemnations against Jing Baiyuan, accusing him of invading another nation's territory. However, Jing Baiyuan paid them no heed, dismissing their words as mere trifles.

    For he knew that Lancelot was like a venomous serpent, forever coveting his family. Should he let his guard down even slightly, the other party would strike back viciously. Thus, he could not and would not relax. He must seize Lancelot's vulnerable spot and deliver the fatal blow that would prevent him from ever rising again.

    As for the rest... he had no choice but to neglect them.

    The battle dragged on for nearly a year, with periods where Qian Yun's logistics fell behind. Chu Li initially claimed he only wanted to be an ordinary doctor, but his position made it impossible to avoid the mundane. He started learning how to deal with matters he previously knew nothing about, assisting in the distribution of resources and managing Qian Yun Star.

    In the third year of the Qian Yun New Calendar, Jing Baiyuan's expeditionary force finally arrived at Blue Vein Star. With no troops at his disposal, Lancelot activated the planet's final protective shield. However, the shield required vast amounts of Blue Blood Crystal ore as fuel. In a desperate move, Lancelot reduced the coverage of the shield, shrinking it to only encompass the royal palace...

    Everyone else on Blue Vein Star was left exposed to the guns and cannons of the expeditionary forces.

    Author's Note:

    It should be nearing its conclusion. I'll wrap up the loose ends, there's roughly one more plotline left, about tens of thousands of words...

    Having completed this novel, I intended to delve into the infinite flow genre next, but due to insufficient pre-orders, I must temporarily set it aside. Instead, I will embark on an emotional journey with "The Young Master's Pretending to be Poor Again (Entertainment Circle)."

    This novel isn't lengthy; it's quite concise, probably around two hundred thousand characters (I'm uncertain, my estimation of word count is notoriously inaccurate, but it certainly won't be longer, only shorter). I merely want to secure some advance reservations for it. It's humble, and after completing this one, I'll commence with the infinite flow novel.

    On my second day on Jinjiang, I started that infinite flow novel, allowing me to finally write about my ethereal white moonlight! Sigh.

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