Star Odyssey - Chapter 18

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Lu Yin only spoke up once he was done robbing all of Jeraldine’s crystals, “My name is Lu Yin, not Yatar. Don’t call me by the wrong name.”
“Lu Yin? Is that your Earth name?”
He didn’t answer that question, but rather gave her an order, “Log into the universal network and mark Nanjing blue under you.”
Jeraldine chuckled but otherwise ignored him.
He sighed, “You know, I don’t actually like torturing people, but this is a military base and they have all sorts of ways to get you on board.”
“These natives will pay the price for that!” she barked.
That anger was met with a cold glare, “Sure, but your price will be much more terrifying and immediate.”
Jeraldine matched his gaze for a while but eventually caved in. In the end, she was just a student; though she could be proud, cold, and even cruel to the natives of Earth, that was merely due to the difference in their status. When that difference was taken away, all that was left was a normal schoolgirl like any other. Lu Yin watched as she logged in and turned Nanjing blue, noticing that a good portion of the planet had been marked by these aliens. Situations like Jeraldine’s were bound to be exceptional, but large swathes of China, Europe, Africa, and the Americas had changed color. The area that stood out to him most was Hubei; had Liu Shaoge surrendered to a student? Was he killed?
He turned to Jeraldine, “Who is the strongest in this batch of students?”
She shook her head. “I don’t know. The Empire itself initiated this evolution, so the students can be from many different schools. Terence was one of the strongest from mine, but I have no idea about the others.”
Lu Yin held back from asking further questions. He was confident in dealing with the current batch of students, but he also knew the true challenge would only begin in two months. With everyone one else busy, he gave himself the task of clearing out any mutant beasts he could detect with his scanner that were in the Realm of Sky. Finishing that task in five days, he called upon all remaining captains, even calling back Luo Yi and Xu San from the frontlines. The latter was dumbstruck to find out that his new master was now stepping in for the Executioner with full control of Nanjing, but that only made him certain that his future looked promising.
Lu Yin had supported Xu San quite a bit already, helping him become a Seeker in this time. He knew that the man’s value would skyrocket once he became a Sentinel, but Xu San simply reveled in the preferential treatment and resolved himself to grow stronger quickly. He believed that the best way for him to aid Lu Yin was to grow more powerful, at which point his own gains would improve as well.
If anyone had any complaints about the current power structure, they didn’t dare to voice them. Everyone was aware that Lu Yin had intervened in a battle with two Realm of Sky experts, showing that he too had reached that realm. This was a level of power that matched the Executioner, and no captain would overstep their bounds. As for the two captains that had once surrendered to Jeraldine, Lu Yin stripped them of their ranks as punishment for the crime.

“The most important order of business is to give up on expansion efforts and focus on fortifying Nanjing,” Lu Yin announced to the eight remaining captains.
Someone hesitantly replied, “Carving a path towards the capital was the foundation of the Executioner’s strategy. It wouldn’t be good to stray from his goals.”
“I agree with Lu Yin,” Qin Xuan countered, “Nanjing is too weak to connect to the rest of the country right now; we need to first stabilize this place to ward off external threats.”
Seeing the nods from Feng Hong and the others, Lu Yin stood up, “Then it’s decided. All of the camp’s soldiers are going to be recalled, we’ll begin heading west to reclaim the lost parts of the district.”
The last bit was said as he was leaving the meeting, leaving the others silently looking at each other. Qin Xuan fell into deep thought as she watched Lu Yin leave. She felt that he was even more bold than the Executioner while still wanting to help Nanjing, but the supposed temporary caretaker of the city was overruling Zhou Shan’s strategies. Although she agreed with this change, she wondered how the Sage would react when he awoke.
“Feng Hong, stay close to the Executioner for a while,” she whispered.
Feng Hong was puzzled, “Why?”
“An abundance of precaution. Just protect the Executioner.” She feared that Lu Yin would harm or even kill the Executioner to gain complete control over the camp.
Across the room, Luo Yi’s eyes flickered as she observed the two talk.
Zhao Yu had left a few days ago by herself, heading northeast. This girl’s courage was admirable, but Lu Yin felt the decision wasn’t very sensible. The stronghold had originally housed 80,000 cultivators, but 30,000 of them had originally been stationed at the frontlines. Now that they had returned with the rest of the captains, the district’s defenses had been strengthened drastically. Zhongshan was now a true fortress, but that meant the countryside was more fragile than ever before.
Beams of light flashed across the sky to the backdrop of the crimson sunset, destroying a number of flying mutants. Atop the city’s walls, Lu Yin called out, “Use ballistics if you notice a group of beasts or a zombie horde; no need to hold back.”
“Understood!” two captains responded.
A sudden cry rang out in the distance, many zombies being torn apart as a massive flying beast rushed towards the city. It swept close to the ground and grabbed talonfuls of zombies along the way, crushing them to pieces amidst its flight.
“ATTACK IT! QUICK!” someone screamed, and people started panicking. However, Lu Yin’s eyes narrowed and he leapt up with Orton’s sword in hand, one Sentinel-level strike knocking the beast straight to the ground. The scream turned into a wail as its head was twisted strangely by the impact, voice slowly dying out. Lu Yin jumped down onto its back and slid the sword into its head, causing two twitches after which all movements stopped. It took a moment for the stunned onlookers to burst into cheers.
“The Hidden Sage !” someone cried out amongst the crowd, which was soon picked up by everyone. Lu Yin’s mouth twitched— he didn’t want to be another Sage, but no matter how he tried to calm the crowd, the term quickly started to spread.
Few zombies or beasts remained around Nanjing as the cultivators at the stronghold had already exterminated most of them. Following Lu Yin’s orders, most of the people’s energy was focused on regaining the western lands; nearly half the captains moved out in support. Survivors continued to flock to Nanjing, and the number of cultivators grew as well.
Half a month sped by, and soon less than seventy days remained before the next batch of students arrived. During this time Lu Yin had used about half of his star crystals to cultivate, getting to combat level 1,500. Star crystals were not typically used to accelerate cultivation and upgrade an individual’s power, but were mostly used to train battle skills or to power high-tech equipment. The crystals could also be used to rapidly recover energy after exhaustion. A powerful battle technique could often multiply one’s strength, but a higher combat level alone could cause others to be cautious.
Obviously, a higher power level represented the body’s energy, which meant that the same attack would be more powerful, much like how Terence’s Shockwave Palm had been able to counter Jeraldine’s battle technique. Although Terence had saved some star crystals to train his battle techniques, it had been for nothing in the end; otherwise, his last battle would have ended differently. Lu Yin planned on using his remaining star crystals to improve his Cosmic Palm and try some other things.
Jeraldine had given up during these two weeks, requesting to meet with Lu Yin. Although he hadn’t allowed anyone to torture her physically, she had been placed in solitary confinement in a dark dungeon and forced to eat food made from rats. It wasn’t long before she cracked.
“I… I’ll help you if you let me go,” she pleaded weakly, face pale and gaze unfocused. Her very body seemed to radiate an unpleasant odor.
Lu Yin remained indifferent, “How can you help me?”
“I can help you protect Nanjing, and I’ll do whatever else you want me to. Just let me out, I’m losing my mind!”
Lu Yin stared at her, “So what’s the mission in this trial?”
“You’re really not a student? How did you manage to enter Earth when it’s been under the Great Yu Empire’s observation for so long?” Jeraldine’s gaze brightened, but when Lu Yin turned to leave she called out, “Wait, fine! I was just curious, I won’t say anything. Our mission was to hunt down an escaped criminal.”
“A criminal?” Lu Yin turned back with interest.
She nodded, “We were given the mission one day before the trial started. A criminal managed to escape parole and came to Earth; he was the one who triggered the planet’s evolution. The Empire didn’t plan to use this planet for a while, but now it was the best choice. This even delayed our training by several months, we were supposed to start much earlier.”
[1] One reading of Yin is Hidden

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